While the ever-changing tech world urges us to have tunnel vision on the numbers associated with sales, what often is not so obvious is the value of cultivating genuine relationships with clients throughout the sales process. While it’s easy to single-mindedly charge towards quarterly goals, outstanding salespeople develop sales rep skills that can make their performance consistently effective over the long haul.
1. Embrace sales storytelling
There are hundreds of ways to deliver a value proposition to potential clients – but what unites them all is the fact that at the end of the day, you’re weaving together a narrative about your product or service. Any salesperson can go through a list of benefits and features, but putting them together into something that’s relatable through sales storytelling makes selling far more effective.
In other words, sell your story – not your features.
This is important for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s important to remember that most people learn through storytelling because they can establish their own connection to the topic at hand. Here are three steps that can help you develop your storytelling skills:
- Articulate the potential. Describe where the opportunity lies for your prospect and address how they will benefit from the onset.
- Align the opportunity with the pain point. Acknowledge your prospect’s pain point and provide an example of how the opportunity will help them solve it.
- Acknowledge their concerns. By paying attention to your prospect’s concerns and addressing them (perhaps even before they do!) you’re showing how your product can be uniquely suited to their particular needs.
2. Cultivate emotional intelligence
All relationships have ups and downs – including those with customers. So, when it comes to the conversations you’re having with your clients, especially when they don’t go the way you want, it’s crucial to nip any possible emotional stressors in the bud so as not to negatively impact the outcome.
If you take some time to focus on recognizing your reactions and emotions throughout the ups and downs of any sales cycle, you can actually turn potentially emotionally fraught situations into opportunities.
If during a demo or pitch, you’re frustrated or worse, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I prioritizing instant gratification or is the development of my sales skills and abilities a long-term process with tangible accomplishments throughout?
- Is the time I’ve devoted to engaging with my prospects focused on relatable content and conversations, or am I going back to a one-size-fits-all approach?
- Are those who I’m having conversations with actually influential in my sales process, or am I avoiding high-pressure situations out of fear of the sale not working out?
3. Take care, you are not what you do
President and CSO of Salesleadership Inc. Colleen Stanley said, “Teach your salespeople the concept of separating what you do for a living from who you are. Your role in sales is just that — a role.” Indeed, when fostering a high-EQ, successful sales culture, managers should encourage their reps to take time away from their work with the goal of taking care of yourself.
But how is downtime supposed to help you foster active self-reflection? At the end of the day, it’s easy to discourage, especially after a presentation doesn’t go the way you planned. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, try analyzing your process from the inside out.
Customer Experience Insight suggests asking yourself these five questions:
- What was the reason for my reaction to the prospect or customer?
- What would have been a better response during the sales meeting?
- What can I do differently to prevent getting into a dead-end selling situation?
- Who did I need to ask for help and perspective?
- What did I do well, and how do I repeat that behavior?
If you go through asking yourself these questions and take time to actually go through and answer them, your ability to take a situation with a less-than-desirable outcome and turn it into a learning experience will ultimately help you become a more effective sales rep.