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Sales Skills: How to be a Top Level Sales Professional

written by: thelikeabilityguy•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 8/19/2009

The sales profession is commonly thought of as a numbers game. The more people you talk to the more sales you can make. While this statement has some truth, it greatly diminishes the required skills that a true professional must have to be a long lasting successful sales person.

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    Sales Success Ladder

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    Attitude

    Attitude is what sales is all about. You must feel that each person you speak with is going to make the purchase. It is the untold confidence that radiates during the sales meeting that helps turn prospects into buyers. Lost sales cannot be considered defeats, but rather new opportunities for learning and growth. If you can learn at least one thing from each missed sale, then you haven't lost anything. Instead you have gained knowledge. The next task is to go out and apply that new knowledge with your next encounter. It's the willingness to fail that allows you to reach new heights of success. With great optimism comes courage which leads to confidence and the ability to be tenacious. Tenacity is a great trait that typically accompanies top performers with great attitudes.

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    Desire

    This is the fire that must burn inside you. Passion is the fuel for desire and it perpetuates into an outstanding attitude. Desire cannot be manufactured. Everyone has desire for something. It's simply a matter of formulating it into something tangible or attainable. This is typically an emotion based feeling. For instance, people don't desire money. They desire what they can buy or the freedom that it provides. People don't desire to be the top sales person just because. They crave the prestige, ego boost and financial freedom that it generates. Discover your desire. Think about what gives you happiness. What chain of events must happen to deliver this feeling? Write this chain of events down and you will find what feeds your desire and the passion that will push you to greater achievement.

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    Listen

    In sales there is a tendency for people to want to over talk and feature dump everything they perceive as great attributes about their product or service. This is exactly the wrong approach and one of the main reasons people try to avoid sales people like the plague. The right balance is speaking about 20%-30% of the time, and responding and helping the remaining amount of time.

    A good sales person asks thought provoking questions that elicit answers from customers that tell a story and really explain their needs. Good questions set you up to hear insightful details about the true desires of your prospect, but you must be listening closely to pick up on them. Good questions are open ended. These typically start with how, what, why, when, where. When the prospect is talking, don't think about your next sentence. Only listen to their words, the inflection they use when speaking and watch their body language. Doing this will provide everything you need to understand the prospect. When it is your time to speak, piggy back your statements and solutions using the same words that your prospect did.