Changing Sales Skills Requirements to Ensure Success

Changing Sales Skills Requirements to Ensure Success

The skills of sales representatives are part nature, part nurture! The ability to sell a product is partly innate. This probably explains why in a group of sales executives who have received the same training and resources, some outperform others. Naturally, in a target-oriented field of sales, where performance is easily “measured” based on the number of clients you have acquired or the number of pitches you have made, there is a quick categorisation of effective sales executives and the slow learners. In today’s market, effective executives are the only ones to thrive, than merely getting by. However, there isn’t a reason to be demotivated if you haven’t outperformed your team members yet. Some of the skill sets can be achieved through learning and experience as well, which will make you stand out too! So how to make yourself a sales success person?

The kind of training that your employer makes available to the team is probably a far more significant determinant of the sort of results you and your team can achieve.

What are the skill requirements for your sales team?
We are all aware that the basics of sales training should include comprehensive product knowledge, the ability to create a relationship with a prospective buyer, active listening skills, effective communication, spontaneous thinking to generate quick solutions or defences for the product, effective and fast adaptability to new situations and effective time management. Strong presentation skills and a high degree of motivation are other skills that a successful training program ought to equip sales people with.

Qualities such as personal ambition and the desire to succeed, persistence and being patient with possibly recalcitrant buyers may be innate but can also be fostered, especially through observational learning and modelling. Assertive and desirable models, or the person to be observed, can provide training to sales personnel in terms of developing certain attitudes, byways of observation and retention of information. Other factors such as confidence in speech and bearing, a likeable personality, and attractive appearance can help too! These again can be built through observational learning and operant conditioning. In other words, effective training based on a functional need analysis is the key to developing these skills. A good investment in training reaps many benefits later. Whereas, poorly conducted training programmes or no training at all can cost the organisation dearly. Interpersonal skills are also highly necessary for your sales team because they would chiefly engage in client acquisition and strengthening existing relations. Negotiation skills, persuasion, all of these come under interpersonal skills.

Why and how do those requirements change over time?
We may all agree that specific skills will help one have active sales success personnel and enhanced productivity. However, it is also important to know that skill sets need to evolve with time. Sales skills that work today may be much less effective tomorrow. Because the way that buying habits and the market itself functions have altered over the past few years. Many people are moving over to make purchases online, sales skills that were effective in the past are somewhat redundant now.

One could argue that product-focused selling and aggressive sales success styles that were so effective in the past are much less effective now. Buying cultures, sales behaviours and even the way business to business selling works; have all altered hugely in the past decade or so. Keeping pace with these is not only important, but it is also necessary to stay relevant; In other words, there is a genuine need to change sales skills with changing market conditions and consumer behaviour; and to alter the overall training paradigm to make it more relevant to current requirements.

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