How do we become really good at something?
Whether it is baking or golf or Minecraft, we all improve our skills by doing, by practicing.
The same is true of sales. And we don’t need a special time or place to practice our sales skills. We can do it anytime. It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3.
How can we practice our sales skills anytime? And why is it easy?
#1. Ask Something
Knowing more about our clients and prospects is essential to improving our sales. Whether we are starting a new relationship or we have been working together for years, we want to fully understand their experience, set aside all of our assumptions, and confirm how we can be of service.
We do this by including great open-ended questions in our conversations. This can be a challenge as our tendency is to default to close-ended questions, questions that only result in a “yes” or “no”.
So … practice. With your partner, your children, your friends. Teach yourself how to think in open-ended questions by using them regularly.
For example “Did you have a good day?” becomes “How was your day?” And “Do you want to do something together this weekend?” becomes “What would you like to do together this weekend?”
The more you use open-ended questions each day, the more they will become automatic for you when speaking with clients and prospects. Practice.
#2 Hear Something
The impact of asking great questions is negligible if we don’t truly listen to the answers.
Improving our listening skills involves being fully present when another person is speaking. Start paying attention to how you listen in your personal life. As your partner or children or friends are speaking to you, are you thinking about what you are going to do or say next? Are you multi-tasking, i.e. answering an email, doing dishes, or checking your phone?
Opportunity exists not only in what is said but in what is heard. When someone answers our questions, everything from the words they choose to their tone of voice contains information that can lead you to more questions, deeper conversations, and stronger relationships.
Practice being fully present in all your conversations.
#3 Do Something
The impact of what we hear lies in what we do with it.
When we hear that our partner is exhausted or our friend is worried, what do we do? Sometimes we do nothing. We tell ourselves that they don’t want/need our help, that they can handle it themselves. While that can be true, bringing our partner a cup of tea (or wine) deepens our relationship. Listening to our friend can diminish their worry and strengthen our bond.
Practice acting on what you hear. It can be simple; isn’t not passive.
Non-action doesn’t improve sales. While we may not be able to bring our clients or prospects a cup of tea, we can phone them, send them a note, follow up and continue to listen.
To learn more about these skills and how to practice them, watch my micro-learning webinar on YouTube.