Advanced Selling Skills Must be Built on Strong Foundation
If you want to be a surgeon, you first need to complete medical school and then continue specialized medical training specific to surgery. The same is true if you want to be a dermatologist, pediatrician or psychiatrist. The presumed logic is that an individual needs to have a thorough understanding of the entire human anatomy and foundational medical principles before progressing to a more specialized focus. I’m not saying the complexity of professional sales is on par with that of medical doctors, but the concept of progressive skill development absolutely applies.
It can be a difficult conversation when a prospective client comes to Carew looking for specialized sales skill improvement on his/her team, but an exploratory conversation reveals there is no foundation…no fundamental selling skills or sales process upon which to build. That dynamic can be like trying to erect a mighty fortress on a bed of quick sand. Who doesn’t want their sales team to be more proficient at specific sales challenges like negotiations, selling to the executive level or social selling?
Here’s the dilemma: Sales professionals can’t expect to sell to the executive group if they aren’t first able to engage and influence middle management or purchasing personnel. A proven negotiations process won’t help if sales professionals don’t practice effective listening and customer needs diagnosis. Social selling skills can significantly boost a sales professional’s lead generation and engagement efforts, but, eventually, the sales professional must be able to engage with the prospect in a meaningful and productive way.
Sales professionals must have communications skills to build relationships and foster trust, credibility, rapport and influence. They need skills and specific processes for diagnosing customer needs, handling objections, developing highly valued solutions and delivering high-impact, winning presentations. These skills comprise the foundation upon which more specialized selling skills and processes are developed. Skipping past the foundational selling skills in pursuit of specialized or advanced sales training may seem more expedient in the moment, but it’s a scenario that sets the sales professional and your organization up for failure. Want your sales team to soar? Make sure they have a solid, skill-based foundation from which to launch.