We get it. Social selling, along with building your own social brand, is an important sales channel, the place where you can establish your presence, credibility, and your thought leadership skills, even before a sales person enters the formal process. There are some fantastic tools out there to help you build your team of top performers, like Peoplelinx and Journey Sales. But the channel itself isn’t the magic. You are. And, by proxy, so are the folks you teach and coach.
As always, the magic starts to happen with your interpersonal skills: how you build and use your network, how you shine, how you talk, how you listen. We as sales leaders must develop and coach the soft skills in sales reps.
1. Relationships are Your Wealth
At our Philly Enterprise Sales Meetup, David Silverstein, Vice President of Sales, of InSource, attributes his successes to his ability to build trusting relationships. He recognized that his getting referrals to decision makers is what made him a high performer throughout his career. People trusted him and were willing to introduce him to their peers. More than specs, more than technology, more than cost, it’s people skills that make the difference.
As sales reps, we own this piece of making our success. But many people still don’t understand how to actually do this effectively. Here is a tip: find a way to build value in all your business conversations, prospects and non-prospects alike. Be present with the people you engage with. Offer your help and support and you will get the same respect in return. Make your communications meaningful by being present and truly listening. Put your phone down and get engaged. That’s when the magic of connection will happen. Building relationships is the DNA of the business.
2. Self Awareness
As far back as I can remember, and for centuries before that, personal presence and good communication skills have always mattered. Top performing sales reps have a keen sense of self-awareness, are well grounded, have vision, and are great listeners. In other words, they have a powerful personal presence. A good sales rep must be able to share a perspective so their buyers can themselves see into the future, envision what’s ahead and create – buy into — new realities.
I have a metaphor that I use for music; “If you don’t know the scale, you can’t jam.” So make sure you know everything you can about what’s important to you, and more importantly to your prospects, and how you want to talk about it and then practice. Often. Videotape yourself presenting the vision of your solution and the value it brings to your clients. Observe yourself and get someone else to observe you: do you come across as authentic? Does your voice sound clear? Are you using powerful words that will connect with each individual client? Would you be persuaded by the person speaking in front of the camera? What’s the tone you’re creating? What image are you projecting? Do you appear grounded? Knowledgeable? Caring? Ready to sell?
3. Know What You’re Getting Into
At the last Philly Enterprise Meetup, CIO’s Randy Gaboriault and RJ Juliano stressed the importance of sales reps understanding their business. Which means knowing their clients’ business. In other words: Do Your Research before arriving to pitch your product. Know the company’s strategic plan, review the 10Ks and Qs, and learn about the people you’re meeting with. Understand current trends in the business and be prepared to share how previous solutions you’ve devised have helped others with similar issues. Be the expert you have to be.
There are many soft skills that we as sales coaches and sales managers need to help reps develop if they are going to be high performers. If you’d like to learn more on developing sales presence for your team, I invite you to reach out to learn about my workshops, “ The Leadership Effect for Sales”.
If you’re interested in developing the soft skills of your sales team to accelerate growth, let’s have a conversation about my program “The Leadership Effect for Sales”! donnavalente(@)leadership placement(dot)com