Sales and the art of selling is changing….just like everything else.
New theories, practices and reworked ideas come around again and again.
Some of them stick, some of them fade.
Many work, some don’t.
One thing that’s been around for ages, but always there in the background, as something that good (and great) business development professionals have know is this.
Sales Is Not About Selling…And It Never Has Been
And that’s even more true today than it’s ever been.
It is not about taking the order, being a walking brochure or even pitching harder than the competitor.
Customers, Buyer, Prospects and Procurement teams have no use for that sort of sales person any more.
The sales person that succeeds today is the sales person that out performs his competitors. Who secures the business. Whot leaves his sales persona at the door and picks up the position of the Buyer’s problem solver.
That means your business development and customer facing target carrying team may need to have a slightly different skill set than you’d imagined.
Instead of thinking about the value of their address book, the length of service in your industry, the length of their business development career, maybe there are additional things to think about.
The Sales Skills Tool Box
Critical thinking skills – their ability to grasp complex situations, issues and constraints and see the Buyer’s issues for what they are and the impact they have on the Buyer
Team building – to build cooperation around creating a suitable solution with the relevant internal and external parties
Problem solving capabilities – the ability to see the real problem and it’s implications as opposed to just seeing the manifestation of that problem
Rapport building – to gain trust quickly and establish expert status with the Buyer and their influencers
Listening skills – genuine listening skills, listening to understand and not listening simply to sell
Communication skills – how good are they are respectfully pushing boundaries in the Buyer’s thinking. How good are they at being able to coherently present ideas, discuss scenarios whilst having all parties keep an open mind
Ability to prioritise – their ability to differentiate between the urgent and important and respond accordingly
Negotiation skills – their ability to compromise and to broker compromise across different parties, different solutions
Resilience – in the face of challenges, objections, resistance, nay-sayers and group think
Creativity – seeing solutions that are not evident to the Buyer. Conveying those solutions with high levels of confidence and credibility
Belief – do they have it, can they convey and transmit their true belief in their solution
The Future of Sales People
Business development might have historically been thought of as a trade that people ‘fall into’.
Ask any 5 year old what they want to be when they grow up and I’ll bet few of them say ‘sales person’.
Sales people can be nurtured to be better business development people, that’s true.
What’s also true is that most great sales people are born with a certain skill set that they invest in to make better.
So, anyone can be a business developer?
I don’t think so.
What do you think?
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