Eight Key Sales Skills

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I recently ran across a list of 8 key sales skills by Allen Guy, author of Playing to Win: the Sport of Selling.  Since every presenter sells an idea, service or product, I thought I’d share them and amplify on them.

  1. Understand yourself. Why do you really want to do this sale: for your sake or the buyer’s or both? Are you communicating, consciously and/or unconsciously, your desires more than the buyer’s benefits? Are you demonstrating mastery/competence of the subject? Are you relating at a level that generates trust in you? Are you projecting a Leader Presence? Are you anxieties and fears about presentations getting in the way of communicating or distracting the buyer from the value proposition?
  2. Understand the buyer. What motivates this buyer to buy now? Is he/she ready to hear your message, now? How does the history between the buyer and you and what you’re offering affect “readiness” to receive the message
  3. Know your product. Not just its features but also how it really helps this buyer. What does it give your buyer a competitive advantage – and is it sustainable?
  4. Position yourself for success. Increase trust by providing testimonials, third party endorsements, references from people you both know.
  5. Plan the sales call.  Don’t be complacent; think through a complete plan. All of the above factors may mean you need to address time and place for the presentation (e.g., face-to-face in the morning vs. group setting after a heavy lunch).
  6. Implement the plan. Execution is key to success in sales as it is in operations!
  7. Ask for the business. Unfortunately, half of all sales people don’t go for the close!
  8. Follow-through to position yourself for repeat opportunities. It’s easier to get repeat sales, up-sell to related products/services and get referrals, if you’ve positioned yourself well.

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