Earlier this year I wrote a list of 15 things I would train salespeople on instead of social selling. Here are 10 more skills I would develop before I would worry about training in social selling.
- How to defend their pricing: Your pricing is the investment your client needs to make to produce the new results they’re after. When you lower your price, you are also reducing their investment. You defend your price because you defend the investment, ensuring your client gets the results they need.
- How to have difficult conversations: Selling is conversations and commitments. Producing results requires difficult conversations about access to other people, about money, and about the right plan to execute. Many of these conversations never happen because the salesperson doesn’t have the language to engage the customer successfully around tough issues.
- Befriend the gatekeeper: The role of the gatekeeper has changed. The digital gatekeeper is an obstacle. But gatekeepers now are those with the ability to provide you access to information and people. You need them on the team.
- Ask for referrals: Almost no one asks for referrals anymore. The failure to ask for referrals is especially true in business-to-business sales. But the people for whom you create value are more than happy to introduce you.
- How to do minimum viable research: It is best to separate research and prospecting. Some sales organizations need to do massive research. But most don’t need to do nearly as much as they believe necessary. You slow down your client acquisition and the results you produce for your clients when you take forever to make your calls.
- Prioritize their prospects and territory: Not all prospects are created equal. There are a lot of ways to plan your territory. Geography can work. So can the size of the potential opportunity. Different things work for different companies and different territories. Getting this right improves results, and it improves speed.
- How to refuse an RFP or control the process: If you aren’t shaping the decision factors and how the prospect weights them, it is tough to win an RFP. When you are asked to complete a blind RFP, you need to know how to push back in a way that allows you to get back to that shaping. Otherwise, you politely say, “No, thank you.”
- How to resolve concerns late in the sales cycle: Towards the end of your sales process, buyers want certainty that they are making the right decision. Leaving them alone to make this decision almost never works out in your favor. You have to control the process and be there for your client.
- How to use other-oriented language: I’ve heard a lot of salespeople use self-oriented language. They believe that talking about win-win deals, the need to be profitable, and their costs justify their need for their pricing. But it is self-oriented. “Other-oriented” language focuses on the investment the client needs to make to generate the results they need.
- How to plan a sales week: There is no such thing as time management. The only thing you can manage is what you do between the ticks on the clock. Planning that time to focus on doing the right work at the right time is critical to performing well. You need a plan for your whole week, lest you waste it bouncing around on the Internet.
Selling is more difficult than ever. You need chops. Go get some.
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