Are you missing these key sales skills?

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I saw the above tweet last night and it got me to thinking about some of the key things you need in sales before your technical skills or technical solutions even begin to matter.

The first one is absolutely enthusiasm. Back when I was getting started in nightclubs and at the Experience Music Project, I had any number of people come up to me and tell me that my greatest skill was the enthusiasm that I sold myself with.

In Brett’s tweet, the exact opposite seems to be happening.

I think that one of the key aspects of sales that is often lost is the need to transfer energy. If you aren’t excited, why would anyone else be?

I don’t mean “Rah! Rah!” excitement, but the genuine excitement that comes across when you really have something that will actually solve a problem or improve the life of someone else.

I know that in my own career, I’ve had many ocassions when I have been in positions where I was trying to sell things I didn’t believe in.

It is tough and I have often failed at it because I couldn’t transfer the needed enthusiasm for the product I was selling.

The second is persistence. I have been playing with an idea I’ve dubbed “The Discipline of Prospecting” that would focus on the need to take consistent action every day towards meeting new prospects, gaining new business, and making sales.

I have been reading and rereading Martin Seligman’s most famous book on positive psychology called Learned OptimismIn the book, a lot of time is spent on mindset, but the biggest point for all of us is that positive sales people are more persistent and they make more sales because of it.

I think persistence is a skill you can develop.

And, it often begins by taking action.

Another book that I have been revisiting the last few days is called How To Get Control Of Your Time And Your Life. This is a book I first learned about in 2002-2003 from reading Bill Clinton’s autobiography, My Life. President Clinton mentions the book in the first paragraph or so of his book as a key to his ability to get more things done and to keep focused on what he really wanted to have happen.

That’s persistence.

A combination of psychology and action that can be developed and improved.

Third, you need a healthy dose of business acumen. I know that The Challenger Sale talks a lot about leading with insight. I’m not 100% sure if I think that the model that they profess and the research that supports it doesn’t have a healthy dose of confirmation bias, but I do know that modern business demands that you have more to offer your buyers than just a price list and specs.

You need to have the ability to think on your feet and offer ideas that are unique based on your experience.

This is, again, something you can build and improve on.

You have to be willing to read, think, and take chances.

In today’s world, it often feels like no one wants to take a stand, to offer an opinion that is outside of the conventional wisdom. Actually, it doesn’t feel that way…I know it is true. People have ideas and beliefs that they subvert due to not wanting to stand out if their idea is wrong or goes against the grain.

But the real value in the sales process comes from not doing that. You have to offer insight.

So passion, insight, and persisitence…are you using those skills or do you need to get them in your tool box?

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