How to Develop Sales Skills that Everyone Can Use

Everyone must sell something eventually, even if they don’t consider themselves a salesperson. It could be convincing a work team to try a new strategy, trying to get a new job, or even trying to convince a romantic interest to go out on a date.

When these situations arise, having a set of sales skills to draw on can make things go in the presenter’s favor. It’s especially helpful for people to reframe their own approach towards selling and think of it as steps that move another person towards action.

Try to See Thing from the Other Person’s Point of View

Selling should never be about putting pressure on someone until they do what the person doing the convincing wants. Instead, it should be about one person taking leadership to inspire and lead another. This requires a great deal of collaboration with the other party. The presenter needs to demonstrate how he or she can solve a problem, not just sell something.

Active listening is essential in any type of sales transaction, meaning the one doing the selling should listen more than speak. It’s important to plan the questions in advance to make the best use of time. However, it’s also important to let the other person take the lead in directing the conversation. Rephrasing what the other person said ensures a clear understanding for both parties.

Practice and Attitude

Practicing with a trusted friend or colleague before the presentation can highlight any problem areas. For example, the friend might feel the sales presenter is speaking too fast, not making good eye contact, or not providing enough information for the prospect to make an educated decision. After reviewing the recommendations, the sales presenter can try again another time and ask whether things improved.

Showing up with a positive attitude towards the task at hand makes a tremendous difference. It’s essential to display confidence without arrogance as well as enthusiasm for what the product, service, or idea means for the other person.

Closing the Deal

Most people aren’t going to buy or decide in the presenter’s favor on the spot, no matter how persuasive he or she was. They will typically ask for time to consider the information and will react negatively to someone who applies pressure instead. While it would be disrespectful to demand when the other person will have an answer, there’s nothing wrong with asking these types of questions:

  • Is there anything else you need from me to help you make a decision?
  • When do you think you will be ready to move forward with this process?

This helps the two parties establish a timeline for follow-up that’s mutually agreeable to both.

As important as these steps are in any type of selling, it’s also critical to have the sales skills to know when to ask for help and when to walk away from a deal. Asking for help can help salvage a deal that just needs a new sense of direction. However, sometimes it becomes clear during a presentation that it wouldn’t benefit either party to continue. At that point, it’s best to thank the person for his or her time and move on.