Okay…you desire to elevate your skills to the Leadership level or may be there yourself but need a defined way to teach others how to lead sales professionals. Where do you start?
The first step in effective sales leadership is measuring or benchmarking each individual in the skills necessary to be highly successful. Makes sense doesn’t it? But what are these skills and how do I measure them. We’ll talk about the measurement process in a couple of weeks, but first let’s define the specific requisite skills.
The first of these is PEOPLE SKILLS! This seems obtuse you might think…but they are essential? There are four primary and definable behavioral profiles that need to be defined and benchmarked in analyzing and leading sales professionals.
The first of these is Empathy….the innate ability to feel, identify and tap into the emotional issues of the potential buyer.
A Closing Inclination or the ability, and willingness, to push a sale through to closure is necessary. It is interesting that more often than not, both of these skills are not inherent in most people. If one is present…often neither of these skills is present in a potential producer…it almost always overshadows the other.
Analytical Capability is also necessary. This is the ability to perceive the situation in a sales continuum and apply the necessary techniques to define and isolate the issues that are critical to the sale and prioritize the strategy and tactics necessary to move the sale forward.
The fourth People Skill is an Interactive Capability. You know some people who just can’t interact effectively with others. They seem to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, say nothing when they need to talk or talk when they need to shut up. They may lack perception…they don’t seem to catch on to the tone, tempo or critical issues of the conversation. They don’t put people at ease. Further, they just may not be likeable. This type of person is going to have a difficult time being successful in selling.
On the other hand, some people seem to help the conversation flow well in all settings and with all or most types of people. Further, they are able to engage people well, applying good listening and speaking skills. It doesn’t taka a rocket scientist to know that this person is more likely to be successful in a sales role than the other.
The second of these basic skill sets is SELLING SKILLS. We believe and experience has confirmed that there are seven specific and well defined skills that comprise the arsenal of a top sales warrior. They are;
- Planning, ….strategic or long range planning and goal setting and short term, mandate specific tactical planning
- Prospecting…honestly identifying, effectively cultivating and consistently enhancing sales opportunities.
- Discovery Questioning…Identifying issues critical to the sale
- Positioning….Effectively and honestly portraying your solution set as a remedy for the prospects problem
- Doubt Raising Questioning…Creating opportunity where you see a prospect has a need but the prospect does not recognize it.
- Resolving Objections… Effectively changing the prospects mind about an issue that impedes the sale
- Gaining Commitment…Establishing a mutually beneficial solution to the clients need and having them accept the solution
These skills will be further defined in a subsequent article.
The third of these skill sets is PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE. It stands to reason that selling without an understanding of the product or service being sold is virtually impossible. There is, however, two distinct elements of product knowledge…Text and Context. Text is the mastery of the product being presented to the potential buyer. Context is an understanding of how the product fits into the market place, how it compares and contrasts with other solutions and how it can best be positioned for effectively selling the product as an applicable solution.
All of the above specific skills in the three major areas; PEOPLE SKILLS, SELLING SKILLS and PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE, can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. This ability to measure is essential in establishing a baseline from which a sales professional can be developed.