Part 3: People Skills
While learning techniques are doable for anybody who puts in the time and attention, people skills tends to be an area woman excel in.
Women are naturally gatherers, it’s not uncommon for us to be the ones responsible for getting the family together, organizing our community events, and plan parties for fun!
On top of that women are more inclined to be deeply empathetic, usually trying to put themselves in the shoes of the people they’re with before barking out solutions.
Truly, women have a gift already embedded in their psyche that if harnessed can skyrocket their sales career. Let’s explore that further:
This final section to our three-part series on Sales Mastery will bring together all the pieces we’ve been working on until now.
See, unless you nail this last part, you’ll be treading water with the activity from the first two parts.
People Skills will take you a lifetime to master. And, no, they don’t come naturally. There are certain ways to behave with others to help them feel your true concern for them and to help convey your ability to get them to their goals.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Common sense is not so common?” Well, in the arena of people skills this is the truest statement. Your ability to truly connect with and guide another human being will be the sole reason for your sales success.
Before you label my statements as dramatic, think about your most recent sales transactions. Think of the transactions you were pleased with versus the ones you felt remorse from.
In each of those situations describe the way the salesperson treated you, made you feel, and their overall demeanor.
Which of the two would you more likely refer to others? In both cases, you may have dealt with product professionals. Heck, you may even have dealt with sales skills professionals. They may be master prospectors, closers, and the peak leaders in overcoming objections, but if their people skills weren’t connecting with yours, then your experience will likely be unrepeated at best and nonexistent at worst.
You may even swing the pendulum in the complete opposite direction and ask yourself,
‘Have you ever purchased something from someone because they
connected well with you?’
Even if they had to ask their manager a ton of questions and/or they had to go back and forth to get you the most accurate information?
Sometimes, you find yourself buying from people who aren’t yet experts, but they make you feel like you matter.
That’s the power of people skills. And in this post, we’re going to treat it like a skill, not just some ingrained human tendency. Because if it’s a skill, that means it can be mastered with practice – which is something we can always control.
Here are the top 5 Skills we can start with and some tips on how to do it:
1. The Skill of Listening
The profound difference between these two similar words are going to separate you from the sales masses: Listening versus Hearing.
While it’s easy to simply ‘hear’ words coming from our prospective client, it’s a far deeper skill to truly listen.
When you’re making the effort to connect with the client you won’t be satisfied with a mere conversation and exchange in words, you’re trying to identify the hole, problem, or conflict your client is facing in order for them to benefit from your product.
If you hear a sentence, you may interpret it however you wish, and you continue with scripted conversation.
However, if you listen, the client will use more than their words. Their body language, their tonality, their level of urgency will also spew from their interaction with you.
Is the client leaning in toward you, crossing their arms, sounding bored, rapidly expressing enthusiasm? All those are clues that fill in the meaning behind the words they’re using which will guide you to the proposal.
So, don’t just sit and hear, take it in, listen and look for all the clues.
2. The Skill of Making Others Feel Special
Every human you work with is of great worth. Your ability to express that to them will separate you from everyone else they interact with, especially in sales roles.
This is not a corny topic that can be glanced over, or an area where tough love needs to be delivered. Making people feel special is the foundation of whether they’ll want to be around you.
Here’s a test as to how others feel about you:
Think of the people in your contact list. If you received a call from any of those people, I want you to take in how you would feel the moment the phone rang.
Certainly, there are some people who you would be ecstatic to answer, and there may be some you instantly silence your phone over and hope they don’t call again.
Now, ask yourself, how would THEY each feel if you were the one to call them.
Be honest with yourself here. If you called a client of yours, would they be happy to hear from you or would they automatically send you to voicemail?
If your interactions lead to them feeling valued, you will be answered every single time. If you throw off the aura of selfishness, or of each interaction as just a number for you to check off, you will be avoided.
It doesn't matter how well you’ve mastered your scripts; you won’t have anyone to deliver them to if people don’t want to be around you.
3. The Skill of Good Impressions
You only get one insanely fast chance to make a good first impression. That doesn’t mean you will maintain that impression or if you make a bad impression you can’t turn it around. This just must be intentional on your part in either case.
To make a good first impression:
On the phone:
o Be pleasant
o Smile when you speak (Even if they can’t see you, they can feel your energy. A smile always exudes a positive energy)
o Be clear with your words
o Wait until they’re done speaking before you continue
o Keep your phone conversations brief
o Offer a sincere compliment if you can. For example: they were a referral and you know of a positive quality they posses
o Shake firmly
o Dress well
o Make eye contact
o Use polite tones and language
o Show enthusiasm but not anxiousness
o Compliment but don’t flatter
o Always speak highly of others (even your competition)
4. The Skill of Coaching and Guiding
Most people don’t want your advice. Especially not someone you’re asking for money from. They’re not looking for expertise or constructive criticism.
1) As a Manager
o Your team knows that they need to hit high levels of activity in order to reach their goals. Maybe they’re putting in the work and are just not executing properly.
Before demanding that they improve performance, can you guide them to how to effectively perform?
o Your team understands by not hitting their numbers they won’t be able to live comfortably, provide the lifestyle they promised their family, or even win the contest your company is running.
Before condemning their lazy habits, can you guide them in ways to help them eliminate their fear or find a way to show them how to get the ball rolling?
Naturally, there are times when leadership needs to be tough, precise, and unchallenged.
Most of the time we are worried about our own consequences, so we impose that pressure upon our team in order to alleviate ourselves from the responsibility.
If your team feels even an ounce of that motive, they will turn on their brakes – even if it means that they would sacrifice their quality of life – instead of helping you.
If your team feels your sincere desire to help them win, they will go out and fight right alongside you.
2) As a Friend
If your friend is complaining, chances are they are venting and not really asking you for advice.
Next time your friend is coming to you for relief from their life situation, just listen. Don’t offer how to help.
If they press you for your opinion, flip it back and ask them, “Well, what do you think would work best?” and let them rattle their own streams of thought into a conclusion.
If you’re quick to offer solutions, you’ll push them away because they’re not through venting and will feel unheard by you.
You in turn will be frustrated with them because they most likely won’t follow your advice and you’ll carry a chip on your shoulder toward them.
If you don’t want to be a sounding board to a friend who vents to you then you must communicate that to them that there are other topics of conversations, you want to pursue. After a few of those insinuations, you’ll find you won’t be the friend they vent to anymore.
3) As a Salesperson to a Client
You’re not paid to be the expert; you’re paid to close the sale.
While it may feel good to your ego to blabber on and on about how your product works and what is so great about your company, the client does not care. All the client is caring about is getting their problem solved.
So instead of pointing out faults to your client about their current situation or company, guide them through questions to the purpose of your visit, the close.
Remember that criticizing someone is unnecessary. No one will be grateful for criticism (no matter how just you feel it is), but they will be grateful for guidance.
5. The Skill of Remembering a Name
It is never justified to say, “I’m no good at remembering names.” You’re expressing weakness and lack of desire to please.
Why would you impose upon yourself that you are not capable of remembering ONE WORD that means the most to the person you’re dealing with?
In group settings always opt for name tags when possible and if you’re in a mingling situation make sure you participate and wear one also.
Just because you may be the leader in the scenario doesn’t mean that the attendees will know your name and you don’t want to appear superior. Remember you lead from the front, not from the top.
In a one on one setting if you are presenting then write the clients name down on your pad, or a paper, or on the presentation form themselves. You can refer to your note at any time during the presentation in order to stay connected to the client.
If you are not equipped with a place to write the name, then when the client introduces themselves to you say their name in your head 3 times and use their name in a sentence immediately and often for a little while.
Example: Introductions were made, and you found out your prospect’s name was Anna. In your mind repeat to yourself quickly, ‘Anna, Anna, Anna’ and then ask a question, “So, Anna, were you raised in this area?” or “So tell me, Anna, what brought you in today?” and continue to insert her name for the next 3-4 minutes of your conversation. You won’t forget it.
Are there any other skillsets that can be mastered for next level sales success?
Are these 3 posts enough to get you started and become more aware?
If you mastered 1-2 of these skills per week, how would your results look before the end of the next quarter?
Remember, just as we started this series, sales is a long term game. You will become a master by first allowing yourself to be a disaster. Stay sharp and be intentional.
Your challenge for this week:
Become a professional at remembering and using people’s names.