When you talk to top sales people you’ll notice something.
Most — if not all — are lifelong learners. The best sales people are always open to finding a new angle or technique to attack the challenge that is at the center of their business: that is, persuading a customer to choose their offering over a competitor’s.
Sales pros further understand that lessons can come from a variety of sources: mentors, colleagues, even tough on-the-job challenges. In the spirit of our last round-up of marketing resources, we thought we’d look at key sales skills and ways to beef up your knowledge in those areas through free or inexpensive resources.
Sales people are masters of persuasion, but are also always looking for that “edge” or new technique that keeps them in front of the competition.
Enhancing your powers of persuasion might entail:
- Studying psychology and human motivation: Learn from the top minds at Wharton in this free course
- Increasing your public speaking skills: Check out this course by renowned speaker Simon Sinek, the author of the popular framework “Start with Why” (free with trial)
- Boosting your storytelling skills: Check out this TED Talk by Jack Vincent about how closing a sale is like falling in love, or check out this free Khan Academy course on storytelling drawn from the gurus at Pixar.
Negotiation entails getting the best possible deal from a client or customer, and it is unique to your business case. That said, it’s an area where training and study can confer an advantage. This free course from the University of Michigan on Coursera can give a great overview or brush-up of skills.
Sales can be a profession full of ups and downs. The best sales professionals can maintain their motivation to make calls and follow-up through the leanest seasons. Therefore, development pertaining to motivation is key. Check out this TED Talk with Angela Lee Duckworth on the power of “grit.”
As technology provides greater efficiency, it also seems to offer a proliferation of exciting distractions. At the current pace of global business sales stars are also masters of time management.
Some of the books that are highest on the lists of time management gurus:
- Atomic Habits: this book by James Clear is based on a great deal of science and research on the psychology of habit formation. Use it to cultivate new habits and reduce negative ones.
- Deep Work: Cal Newport’s popular work centers on how to master the frantic pace of the information economy through focused blocks of time.
- Off the Clock: Laura Vanderkam’s book focuses on getting out of the trap of “busyness” and finding more time for work that matters most for you and your sales results.
Data Analysis and Lead Tracking
Great salespeople use numbers to benchmark their progress, track their performance and journey toward goals. For anyone who wants a brush-up on process, this free online course on Sales Prospecting and Lead Generation is a great start. This TED Talk from Donald Doane also looks at turning sales into a process.