What’s the mark of a good sales professional? Is it good Excel skills or managing a CRM? Or the number of sales emails they send in a day? While all of these are important, they don’t really close deals. Sales professionals who continuously hit their targets have a certain set of specialized skills in common. These include the ability to build relationships and have productive and engaging conversations with their customers.
These human skills, or Thrive Skills are an essential set of cognitive, social and behavioral skills that every sales representative should master to achieve their full potential.
Here is a list of the three must-have Thrive Skills for sales professionals and some tips on how to develop them.
Continuous Growth Mindset
If you’re a good researcher, do you think you were born with this skill or that you have developed it over time through practice? If your answer is the latter, then you have a growth mindset — the ability to improve your skills and intelligence through persistent efforts.
Developing a growth mindset starts with the way failure is perceived. There’s no shame in failing, its an experience that one can learn from. The moment you start thinking of failure as a learning experience, you will start gaining confidence and will not hesitate in trying new things. Every challenge that you face will teach you something.
According to psychologist Carol Dweck, who was the first to research the concept of a growth mindset, the word “yet” has the power to dramatically boost confidence. Instead of saying, “I haven’t met my quarterly target,” say, “I haven’t met my quarterly target, yet.”
This one change will alter your attitude and you will find yourself willing to embrace challenges and learn from your mistakes. Fostering a growth mindset not only leads to greater personal and organizational outcomes—it also helps you reach your full potential.
At its core, selling is about influencing and persuading others. Persuasion, fundamentally, is a human skill used by teachers to educate students, parents to raise their children, managers to lead their teams or sales professionals to convince customers to make a purchase. So, how can you have more persuasive conversations?
You can start by understanding your audience and their problem. Whether you’re influencing a room full of people or an individual on your team, it’s key to understand their context. The next step is to have a service mindset and become an ally. Once people start feeling you ‘get’ their problem, they are more likely to listen to your proposed solution. There may be times when people say ‘no’. A ‘no’ may not always be final. It could mean ‘not yet’. This is where you have to keep the conversation going and revisit when the time is right.
On an average, sales professionals face more rejection than other employees in an organization. What happens when a customer is rude or disconnects a call abruptly? Sales professionals need to stay resilient in the face of challenges and rejections.
Resilience doesn’t mean living in denial. Yes, the difficult sales meeting happened, a client rejected a proposal or sent a harshly worded email. Resilience is not about hiding the negative emotions, its about processing them in a healthy way that doesn’t lead to burnout.
It’s important to understand, that one failed call doesn’t mean that all of them will be the same. Building resilience takes sustained effort and a requires a constant reminder that the next closed deal could be from the phone call that a sales professional is dreading.