5 basic skills of selling

A new sales recruit into the world of sales is often given a detailed induction to the company and its products. The sales training part is left to on-the-job training (OJT), mainly by observation, of one of the senior salespersons who are supposed to mentor.

Incidentally, the senior salesperson too never had any formal sales training and has learned by observation. This tradition of handing down knowledge and skills from one generation to another is a common sales training convention.

Except, no one has had any framework of what selling the process is all about.

Listed below are 5 basic skills of selling:

Skills of Selling: Relationship Building
Basic to any understanding of sales is a simple concept: If there is a sales force, there will be relationships that make or mar the sales transaction. The overwhelming logic is that ‘better the sales relationship, better the sale’. This is a way of saying, the salesperson who has a strong relationship with the customer eventually has a better understanding of the operating reality of the customer’s situation and will be better able to zero in on what will make the customer say ‘yes’ to a sale.

Skills of Selling: Customer Success 
One of the widely used terms in management is to seek ‘customer satisfaction’. This is no doubt a valid objective. In sales, the truly successful salesperson seeks to ensure the customer’s success which will happen as a result of the purchase being made. It is known that a majority of the salespeople are only concerned about bringing home the sales order, often with no thought for the hapless customer.

Skills of Selling: Identifying the Gap 
Crucial to professional selling is the skill of using exploratory skills to assess why the customer will need to buy the new product. Especially in the case of the startup, there is a good chance the product and its benefits are unknown to the customer. Here, the role of the salesperson is vital. The salesperson has to understand the operating reality of the customer and then figure out if there is a possible need for the product. Having done that, the next part of the responsibility is to get the customer to realize their need. Unless this is accomplished, there will be little chance of a sale.

Skills of Selling: Making the Pitch 
Having successfully identified the customer need, the next skill is the ability to present to the customer a coherent presentation that outlines the need, as realized by the customer, and how the new product provides a unique solution to the problem faced. If this is done effectively, and any objections raised, handled, then the sales order is a happy consequence. Both for the buyer and the seller.

Skills of Selling: Sell As Much As the Need
Sales is an infinite process, although each month-end marks a painful finite closing. Yet the firm is not just for the month. As each month pulls along, the memory of the previous month’s achievements become a bit vague. The customer is the final judge of the effective skills possessed by the salesperson. Selling in excess of the customer’s need is clearly wrong, and doing it relentlessly is a case of sales malpractice.

Companies across the world have identified rogue selling as serious damage to not only their sales but also to brand equity. Many companies are proceeding legally to punish such salespeople. No one is helped when such irresponsible sales are conducted