Most sales professionals believe that between people skills and management skills, there exists a thin line. However, this is not the reality. People skills are a different set of skills, which allow a person to fulfill his goals with the help of interpersonal interactions.
A manager can still manage with little difficulty if his people skills are not up to the mark. However, a sales professional, whether it be a fresh sales rep or an accomplished sales VP, will depend heavily on people skills.
People skills are not about being good at conversations; the latter is just a part of People skills.
Even though most of us might not believe this statement, this is the absolute truth. Being good at starting interesting conversations is just one part of the process. There are many other factors that are part of this particular skill set. Let us discuss them one by one.
1. Can you relate yourself?
For sales professionals, it is important to be able to relate themselves with the prospects. Having the ability to understand their prospects depends on it. You need to think from their perspective about a specific problem they want to address. Understand from their perspective the solution your offering is going to provide. If you are able to do that, it will help you understand what value your offering holds for the users. This way you are not only going to improve your offering but also your future interactions.
2. Do you have strong communications skills?
Yes, as we mentioned earlier, strong communication skills are just one part of the people skills set. It helps you develop your persona and ability to influence others. Good communications skills are important as they will leave a strong impression on your prospects and clients. Basically, it is easy for a person with good conversational skills to not only use the best terms and vocabulary but to get things done with the persuasive power that comes with it. A person with strong communication skills has the power to inspire, influence and accomplish goals. As simple as that.
3. Are you patient?
Patience is again one of the most important skills in the people skills set. It goes hand in hand with strong communication skills. You need to have patience to listen to your prospect’s issues with a calm mind. Sometimes, under huge stress related to sales quota and similar issues, a sales professional who is patient can focus and get the things done. Without patience it is possible to lose control of your nerves.
4. Are you a good listener?
Being good at listening to your prospects is a trait you must have. One cannot completely understand the prospect without listening what they have to say. One cannot leave a good impression with cutting your prospect off when they are trying to communicate. Once can simply never deliver without UNDERSTANDING what to deliver! This understanding comes when you listen.
5. Can you be creative?
You might be wondering, what does creativity have to do with sales? A lot. You need to be creative in order to reach a prospect that you think will definitely find value in your offering. Although, in today’s digital age, information about everyone is available in big databases. But, there are still a million hurdles and barriers to reach out to your prospect. Creativity is a must to break down these barriers to get in contact with them.
But what about the message? The same old marketing one-liner that is present on your manuscripts, your flyers and your website? The answer is no!
You need to be creative and should come up with ways through which you can not only deliver the message, but deliver the message in the right manner! This sounds easy but it is not. Here, you might want to practice and learn more. But it is crucial for you to be creative in different capacities and situations.
6. Can you make someone laugh?
Seriously can you joke around? In order to be good at people skills you need to have a great sense of humor. You cannot please people without making them laugh a little bit. The more intelligent, sharp and funny a joke is, the better impression you are going to get.
7. Do you try to know your audience beforehand?
If you live in a charade that you can inspire anyone in a single meeting, you are not going to do well. A person with great personal skills will depend a lot on knowledge about the prospects, their industry, their professional interests and other details that are going to shape a buying decision. Work more on understanding your audience before getting in touch with them.
8. Proactive problem solving is a treat.
A person with strong people skills will always be solving the problems of his or her prospects proactively.
Imagine one person who is just simply pitching with a pre-written script. Would that generate any interest? Now imagine a second sales professional who comes up with a problem that you are facing and delivers a solution that you never thought off. We leave it to your imagination which one of these sales professional you are going to follow.
Honestly, people skills are incomplete without great manners and motivation.
Of course, these are not enough but these are definitely the most critical skills that you must master in order to improve your people skills. These are the skills that you need to invest your time in. If you are a sales VP, then you must come up with training and exercises for your sales team to learn these skills and to perfect their people skills altogether. A successful sales professional never allows sales goals to interfere with people skills or get a little arrogant and more sales focused. Keep a balance between your objectives and your approach.
People skills will take time to get developed.
Focus and improve one step at a time. Don’t rush in to it. Just focus and develop or improve every skill one by one. There is no such thing as God gifted or natural. You can learn anything you want and do anything you are asked to if only you do it with confidence. Being good at people skills is also something you can learn and adapt.