The most successful people I have met share one common skill: sales. In less than a minute, a great salesperson can accurately assess a person or situation and understand exactly how to respond. They identify priorities quickly, and easily make people feel comfortable. They understand how to help others achieve their goals, and in turn, reach their own. The best salespeople are sensitive to their audience and detect the slightest changes in the tone of a meeting. Individuals with effective sales skills understand the influences involved in a decision, and quickly assess the best course of action to impact an outcome. Here are 4 reasons everyone should take time to cultivate sales skills:
Sales skills teach you how to market yourself, your expertise, and your ideas.
Whether you are asking for a raise, working toward a promotion, interviewing for a new job, or presenting an idea to your friends, understanding sales will make your efforts more effective. Effective salespeople master first impressions and quickly establish trust with potential clients, friends, or coworkers. They possess the ability to read a person or situation and alter their behavior accordingly without being fake.
Sales skills will help you cultivate meaningful relationships.
Applying sales skills to everyday life will dramatically impact your interpersonal relationships. The best salespeople listen 80% of the time and understand other people’s needs before expressing their own. They actively seek out ways to use their knowledge, skills, and network to solve other people’s problems. The best salespeople feel genuine empathy for others and convey it with their body language, words, and actions. Sales skills will enable you to move a shallow conversation to a deep and meaningful dialogue, and will teach you to gain deep insight by simply asking the right questions. Learning how to sell will teach you to become confident in who you are and what you have to offer, while helping you handle rejection in a positive way.
Sales skills teach you how to NOT internalize rejection.
Speaking of rejection, no career experiences rejection as much as sales. Effective salesmanship teaches you how to properly handle rejection. An old friend recently approached me, wanting to recruit me for a multi-level marketing company. They asked if we could get together and reconnect, feigning interest in my life. They then proceeded to tell me all about the product they were selling. This product had changed their life, made them rich, etc. and they encouraged me to get involved. I responded by telling them it was great to hear from them and that I would love to reconnect. I congratulated them on their success, but explained that I was not interested. This individual became extremely angry and told me that they would just “see me around.”
Inexperienced salespeople are easily offended and take rejection of their product or service personally. Instead of gracefully moving on to the next prospect, they internalize the rejection and allow it to fester and taint future interactions. They defensively reject people who could become a customer or a valuable partner with potential referrals down the road! Rejection is unfortunately part of life, but sales skills will teach you not to let rejection negatively impact your self-worth, your mood, or your efforts!
Sales skills teach you to become aware of your limitations.
If you think that being rejected constantly as a salesperson sounds tough, try finally getting a “yes” and then having to walk away from it! Sometimes people want to work with you, but you learn that you cannot meet their needs. In these cases, the best salespeople set realistic expectations and say no when necessary. Sales skills teach you to be honest and transparent with yourself and the people around you. I love to help others achieve their goals, which means that people often ask me to commit time and energy to their cause. I have learned the hard way that I have to accept my limitations and tell people no when necessary.
Making a pitch sounds catchy and “sales-y,” but this skill easily transfers into any occupation. If you can quickly establish a connection, create credibility, effectively communicate, and solve problems, you are well on your way to success. Ongoing success in sales hinges on developing meaningful relationships, which also translates to any occupation or industry. Possessing sales skills will help you gain confidence, make you better at your job, and ultimately, achieve success.
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