The way people browse and investigate has made soft skills more crucial than ever. Before contacting a salesperson, the vast majority of B2B buyers will conduct their research online. Before the initial conversation, they are frequently well along the buyer’s journey. Great salespeople are aware that they only have a brief window of opportunity to establish a favorable impression and complete a purchase.
These soft skills are crucial for teams working in customer success and sales support who may be asked to assist clients, foster relationships, and seek for chances for upselling and cross-selling.
Sales leaders cannot leave the development of soft skills to chance since they are so crucial to the success of sales. They must take ownership of developing team competencies. In other words, it is entirely your responsibility as a sales leader to assist your team in developing their soft skills.
The following are a few of the most crucial soft talents salespeople require to succeed.
Sales representatives and team members who regularly exhibit a growth mentality make up the majority of great sales organizations. Sales teams are motivated by this to uncover opportunities that others miss. They actively seek out customers’ concerns in order to create specialized solutions.
Even when they haven’t received a response to their previous five sales calls, salespeople that have a growth attitude continue to contact prospects. Research indicates that 80% of sales need at least five follow-up calls, while 44% of salespeople abandon up after just one.
Even if increasing sales is a nice perk in and of itself, a growth mentality is about more than that. Deals advance in the sales cycle due to persistent problem-solving and the capacity to overcome obstacles.
Honest self-evaluation is the first step in developing a growth mindset. Sales personnel must first recognize and understand their defects and inadequacies before they can make changes. Sales executives can assist in guiding this dialogue. Sales managers can assist by guiding their colleagues’ perceptions. Examples comprise:
– Assisting salesmen in acquiring new abilities or methods of operation
– Role-playing in various scenarios to determine where the sales cycle becomes sluggish
– Assisting sales teams in getting rid of negative thoughts and language and putting the emphasis on positive and enthusiastic reactions that reflect a “can-do” attitude
– Promoting genuine relationships over textbook sales scripts acquiring problem-solving abilities.
Resilience is key to a developing mindset. It’s the capacity to accept a disappointing result and rapidly move on. Every day, salespeople experience rejection. The difference between mediocre and excellent salespeople lies in how you respond to rejection and approach your next opportunity. According to businessman Mark Cuban, “Every no gets me closer to yes.”
For salesmen, there are numerous potential diversions every day. Too frequently, they realize at the conclusion of a busy day that they did not effectively manage their time or concentrate on their priorities.
Planning how to split your time between various activities is the practice of time management.
Sales team members that follow a pattern and set up time in their calendars for particular tasks frequently succeed. For instance, you might schedule one hour for prospecting every Tuesday and Thursday morning. You are more likely to complete it and begin to fill your sales funnel by scheduling it on your calendar and blocking out the necessary time than you are by putting off something that could seem like a hassle.
You’ve likely heard the saying that only 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. It also holds true for time management. Make sure your efforts are concentrated first on the subset of items that will have the most impact.
Workflows inside your sales organization can be managed with the aid of organizational tools. Additionally, automation can focus your time and efforts. You may prioritize your client outreach and visualize your responsibilities with the aid of a powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software like Close.
The soft talent of emotional intelligence (EQ) is another critical one that salespeople must master. EQ is the capacity to understand how your actions affect other people’s thoughts and feelings. High EQ enables you to view issues from the perspective of the consumer, which improves problem diagnosis and aids in finding solutions.
Salespeople with High EQ always appear to read the room and modify their approach in response to what they observe. They aren’t hesitant to change techniques or strategies to suit the needs of a prospect when they realize the playbook isn’t working. They are skilled at interpreting emotions, body language, and facial expressions to create customized sales strategies. They take into account the value of nonverbal communication in their sales strategy.
According to MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard University, this necessitates:
- Self-awareness: the capacity to recognize and comprehend the function of your emotions and the effects they have on other people.
- Self-regulation is the capacity to manage one’s feelings and conduct.
- Social awareness is a crucial part of displaying empathy since it allows one to comprehend and interpret the feelings of others.
Social skills are the capacity to persuade, uplift, and inspire others.
A crucial quality for salesmen is adaptability. Sales rarely proceed in a straight line as indicated by your sales process. Excellent sales teams can adjust to shifting circumstances and make sure they are prepared to handle unforeseen problems or concerns. A salesman will be more effective if they are adept at changing their pitch, their presenting style, and their sales approach in response to adjustments.
In almost every sale, circumstances arise that call for flexibility. For instance, you might have scheduled a 30-minute presentation for a prospect, but they show up late and tell you they only have 15 minutes to spare. To focus on the essential features and advantages of your demo, you must be able to change your priorities as you go.
By teaching and role-playing, you can assist the sales team in developing this soft talent, enabling them to be more attentive during sales presentations. For instance, sales professionals must concentrate on the prospect rather than just the presentation itself. By teaching children how to handle interruptions and identifying the telltale indicators that they need to adapt, you may aid in the development of this skill.
In-field coaching is one of the best ways to teach someone adaptation abilities. This doesn’t include dominating discussions, but rather paying attention to the salesperson while they’re working and giving comments once the contact has ended.
By changing the way you sell, you may also contribute to the atmosphere. You can improve your sales strategy by asking prospects for input and participation at the beginning of the conversation.
Without trust, sales very rarely, if ever, occur. It takes time to establish a relationship with a potential customer in order to gain their trust. That entails discovering points of agreement with your prospects and paying close attention to what they have to say.
It goes beyond simply being gregarious or social. It involves determining what they actually require and coming up with a solution to their issue. To start and sustain a strong customer relationship, this contributes to the development of trust.
Respecting your prospect’s time is one method you can establish stronger bonds with them. This entails conducting study in advance of any encounters to ensure that you are ready to make a strong conversion.
Years ago, we used to extol the virtues of customer needs analysis (CNA) meetings as a way to understand the client and their business practices. Decision-makers don’t have time to complete CNAs today. They anticipate that you will be knowledgeable about their company, their sector, and their problems. It takes preparation and time up front to build a relationship.
However, this does not imply that every potential is the same. Everyone has witnessed what you may call “professional visitors.” Although they enjoy engaging in conversation and “building relationships,” they never seem to convert those relationships into sales. Sales teams must keep in mind that they are establishing relationships with a certain end in mind and maintain focus. Additionally, it’s crucial that they focus their efforts on contacts who have the resources and demand for what they are selling.
Every sales call should include a valid business reason (VBR) and a plan to advance a prospect in the sales pipeline, which you can discuss with your sales team to provide guidance.
Effective communication skills are crucial in sales because they help you build relationships and explain the value of what you are offering. Salespeople must be able to articulate the benefits of their products as well as how they might address customers’ requirements and problems.
Unfortunately, a lot of salespeople overlook the necessity of genuine interaction for effective communication. Sales staff won’t engage clients if they read from a script or go through a list of topics to discuss. Both the sender and the recipient must be satisfied for communication to be effective.
Always keep in mind that what matters is not what you say, but rather what your prospects hear. Making sure you’ve described things clearly enough so that your prospects hear what they need to hear is a crucial component of good communication.
Effective communication is made up of six components:
- Confidence in your message and your ability to give the accurate information require assertiveness.
- Genuineness: Prospects are able to tell when you’re acting or merely telling them what they want to hear. Successful communicators are authentic.
- Open-Mindedness: You must pay attention to what is being said and be receptive to novel concepts and viewpoints that may contrast with your own.
- Empathy: The capacity to communicate feelings and comprehend what others are experiencing is essential to interaction and the development of genuine connections.
- Clarity: This refers to being able to present your case in such a way that your potential customers fully comprehend what you are saying or suggesting.
- Timeliness: For effective communication, the timeliness of your message is equally crucial.
The following are some methods to raise the level of communication proficiency in your sales team:
- Field coaching and criticism
- Using notifications for timeframes, such as reminders for when it’s time to initiate or follow up on discussions, to record and listen to sales calls with the sales team
- Practicing sales calls and presentations in advance and getting feedback from others
- Recording sales calls with members of the sales team and listening to them.
Effective communication also includes active listening, which calls for your full attention throughout interactions. This entails participating in conversations and paying attention to what your prospects have to say. Less talking and more listening is a good idea, and you should base your sales plan on what you hear.
There are several ways to engage in active listening, including paraphrasing what others have said and rephrasing it to ensure accuracy and deferring judgment or ideas until you have a complete understanding of the situation.
Additionally, you must actively search for non-verbal clues like emotional indications or changes in body language.
These nonverbal clues account for up to 93% of communication, according to studies. It’s simple to overlook crucial cues if you are focused on what you are going to say next.
You become more involved in the conversation with your prospects when you engage in active listening. Your customers will feel heard and respected, which will foster connections and trust.
Similar to other soft skills, active listening can be developed by doing it with others and getting feedback on it.
- Maintain eye contact
- Recognize non-verbal cues
- Not interrupt speakers
- Listen without jumping to solutions
- Ask open-end questions.