Sales Tools? Overrated! Focus on Skill Enhancement to Dominate Sales Numbers
I said what I said – sales skills trump sales tools every day of the week.
Often, new sales recruits are given some product training, a bunch of scripts, introduced to a smorgasbord of fancy sales tools, then thrown into the deep end and expected to perform.
Here’s the thing: Companies that do that are just super-charging mediocrity and inviting bad reviews from disgruntled, pissed-off prospective customers.
If you’re a company that’s doing this, stop. If you’re a person who does sales, here’s my advice for you.
First, learn the foundations, principles, and processes of sales. Take the time to fall deeply in love with the process. THEN power-up using tools and tech.
Why tools alone aren’t the answer
Imagine this, a set of the most exquisite golf clubs in the hands of someone with no golfing experience. How would they do in a golf tournament?
What about a powerful race car driven by someone with no driver’s licence? Or a newbie to cooking thrown into a fine-dining kitchen?
We wouldn’t be surprised if every single one of the people in the scenarios above experience utter failure. But somehow, salespeople are expected to succeed with minimal training.
The best tools can’t guarantee you’ll hit sales targets – especially if you don’t have the right skills.
When I first kicked off my sales career, I had a desktop that took 17 minutes to boot up, a phone with a cord that was made from Tungsten, and an Excel spreadsheet that looked like it was made by a Neanderthal.
It wasn’t pretty, but we crushed numbers.
What are “sales skills”?
When most people hear sales skills, they think of things like objection handling or cold calling.
Sure, the tenacity and grit to follow through on actions like those are important. But if you’re simply using a script or getting your sales team to follow an if/else-like algorithm like robots, you’ve got yourself some sales monkeys.
They’ll make sales every now and again, but how truly effective do you think they’ll be?
So, here’s my take: Sales skills are people skills.
And based on my observations on tons of sales people over the years, they all have a set of traits – and this one superpower.
The superpower you need for a successful sales career
Yes, I know. We see this word thrown about everywhere lately. It’s a buzzword but the experts are on it for a reason. It’s simply one of the most important things you can have.
If you’re truly empathetic and give a shit about others, people are going to want to work with you. That’s just human nature.
You know what's the worst? When a salesperson just reads their script and asks, "What's going on?"
And you can tell that it's some kind of empty greeting. They don't really give a damn about the answer, they just want to jump into their sales pitch and make that commission.
Well, let me tell you, that kills trust quicker than Usain Bolt can run 100m. As a client, you start feeling like nothing more than a tool to help them hit their targets. It's all part of their routine, their little dance.
The feeling sucks.
That’s why being someone who shows up and genuinely gives a crap can make all the difference.
Having empathy means you’ll be curious to find out more about your prospects’ actual needs. You’ll have the patience to guide them through identifying their problems. You’ll be actively listening rather than just waiting for “your turn to speak” or picking out the right reply from a script.
You’re a solution provider not a product pusher
Ultimately, your prospects will know that you want to provide a solution, not just sell a product.
When your prospects feel seen, heard, and valued, they know you're not just out to make a quick buck. They know you genuinely care about finding the best solution for them.
By doing this, you’ll build rapport with your prospect. You’ll give them confidence that you understand the industry, their problems, and provide reassurance that you want what’s best for them – whether they buy from you right now or not.
To do this, you have to think long-term. And thinking long-term can only happen if you fall in love with the process of sales and get inspired to pick up the skills you need.
The best place to begin
It all starts with the self. In fact, that’s the only place any kind of real growth can start.
Take a moment to look inward and figure out why the hell you're doing what you're doing. What's the driving force behind your career choices and why you picked the company you’re at?
You need to know the vision you have for your own future and how it aligns with the things you're selling.
Yeah, it might sound all high and mighty, but at the core, we're all chasing something meaningful. The problem is, we hardly ever take a moment to reflect and truly understand why we're working so damn hard.
But listen up, once you dig deep and get to know yourself, it gets a whole lot easier.
When people say "no" or show no interest, it won't knock you off your game. Because you know who the hell you are and what you're working towards and what you truly value.
Figure out your why
Once you know your vision and values, you’ll be able to think about your habits and actions. Is what you’re doing daily helping you get closer to your goals?
Or are you just on autopilot, going through the motions without even thinking?
If you spend just 10 minutes a week reflecting on this stuff, you’ll be able to recalibrate your autopilot.
Instead of mindlessly following the same old routine, pause for a minute. Explore your values, vision, and mission.
That's how you'll start to uncover the why behind everything you do.
Not sure how to get started or need some help to talk about where you’re stuck? Drop me a DM on LinkedIn!