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5 Essential Selling Skills in 2016

{}There is a clear line between top performers and second-place or mediocre sales people. And unfortunately, there are more duds than there are superstars in sales. So, what differentiates them? Selling skills.

Some sales reps have the specific selling skills required to sell more efficiently and effectively while others are doing things all wrong.

In 2016, the selling skills you should focus on refining are the ones that buyers indicate are the most critical factors that affect their buying experiences.

Putting the following skills to use can help you gain an edge over your competition and hit your targets consistently because they’re in tune with the way buyers shop in 2016.

1. Educating

If you know how to bring value to the table, you’ll do better than the majority of the sales people in the world. You see, buyers now go through much of the sales process on their own. They do their own research before speaking to a sales person. So they are already highly informed and knowledgeable about your company, your offerings, your prices, and even the competition. What you need to focus on is educating prospects with new ideas and perspectives and offering valuable content and information that they haven’t come across through their online research. Be a valuable source of knowledge, and you’ll win over prospects. Otherwise, why should prospects take the time out of their day to talk to you?

2. Collaborating

Sales people are often lone wolves who like to be in control. They don’t work well with others—and that’s why so many of them fail. Collaborating with prospects is one of the most critical selling skills to have in 2016. That’s because sales people are no longer in control—buyers are. They want to be a part of the solution. They want to work with you to co-create value and come up with solutions. And you must include them in the process.

3. Communicating

Communication is an essential business skill in virtually all industries, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most important selling skills, too. As a sales rep, you need to be able to communicate your ideas in a clear, believable, and persuasive manner. You need to be able to paint a picture that helps buyers visualize how they’ll benefit from your offering and how they’ll yield a return on investment.

4. Listening

Guess what? The sales process isn’t about you anymore. These days, it’s all about the prospect. So you need to improve your listening skills in order to close deals. Don’t just talk, talk, talk—to try to convince the buyer to purchase. Learn how to become an active listener, to truly understand his needs and pain points, to ask more engaging questions in order to dig deeper, and to follow up in ways that demonstrate that you were listening.

5. Empathy

If you come off as sales-y, aggressive, and distrustful, no one will buy from you. You need to improve your empathy skills in order to better connect with your prospects. The fact is buyers purchase from sales people they like. Even if you truly have the best solution and the best price, you could still lose the deal by turning off the customer with your attitude, personality, actions, and words. The importance of empathy in sales cannot be understated. It allows you to create trust in the sales process, build stronger relationships with buyers, and view the world from the buyer’s eyes, so you can really understand his problems and come up with ideal solutions.

To become a top-selling sales person in 2016, work on developing or refining these five essential selling skills. These skills are in sync with today’s customers and will allow you to create a better buyer experience, which in turn, will help you close more deals and increase sales.

Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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