Everyone in the business world is in sales, whether their title is “salesperson” or not. Anytime you need to persuade someone of an idea, ask for a raise, or a new method of doing something, you are selling the idea. Anytime you need to persuade someone of an idea, ask for a raise, or a new method of doing something, you are selling the idea.
Any type of persuasive activity is sales, whether your title includes sales or not.
As the Harvard Business Review points out, many people don’t think of their everyday persuasive business activities as selling, partly because the image of a salesperson, pushing products to clients, is so pervasive. Forbes observes that, in the digital world, information provision is often a key ingredient in sales, rather than sales skills. But for anyone in business life, sales skills can be a valuable asset, well worth honing.
Know what your sales target needs.
Here are 5 methods of increasing your skill at sales.
- Know what your sales target needs. Whether they are clients and you’re selling a specific product, a supervisor from whom you’re requesting a raise or a team leader to whom you’re pitching a development idea, it’s crucial to know one thing. What does the target of your sales pitch need? Not what you believe they should need. This has to come from their own perspective. To see it, you have to view your product from their perspective.
- Think of sales as a journey, not a one-time occurrence. If you’re selling a new idea or new product, expect the sale to be more of a journey than a quick hit. People may genuinely need time to consider all the ramifications. In addition, the merits of your proposal may become more obvious as events develop. Always be patient.
- Create news they can use. When you talk to people about a product or an idea, present its benefits in a context to which they can easily relate. If a new method going to reduce their costs and increase productivity, don’t hesitate to bring facts and figures to support your case. Even if you aren’t a salesperson, take a leaf from their book. Sales materials often include “leave-behinds.” These are, literally, printed material intended to be left with the client as a permanent guide to the benefits of the product. The benefit of its being in print form, even for digital businesses, is that it can be right in front of them without any effort.
- Strategize long term. Having a follow-up plan is good business strategy. If you think your sales target is on a journey, follow up on a reasonable basis. Link follow-up with something that occurred in the time between the initial pitch and the follow-up.
- Never make it personal. Rejection is part of any persuasive activity. Whether new product or new idea, a percentage of pitches get rejected. It is not a personal rejection of you, nor does it reflect personally back on the decision-maker. Expect rejection occasionally as part of the process.
Sales is a persuasive activity that exists in any business role. The five preceding tips can help you make any sale more executable and increase your ability to get your ideas accepted.