Selling Strategies: Assess Your Sales Skills

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It’s February, and I’m hoping you’re making the strides needed to start 2018 on a solid footing. By now you have set your goals and have even started to see some momentum around achieving them. Good for you! Now, I’d like to challenge you to take your 2018 plan one important step further. Are you up for the challenge?

Assess your sales skills.

Assessing your sales skills requires you to take a good, long look in the mirror. Identify a gap (or two) in your skills that needs some polishing and refinement. Then take the step of developing an action plan with your manager (or a sales coach), who you trust to hold you accountable as you work on closing these gaps into solid skills.

But the real growth lies in our ability to check our ego at the door and identify the stuff that holds us back.

All of us have a similar sales approach. “Make ‘x’ number of cold calls, send ‘x’ number of emails, beat quota by a certain amount of time.” This is what we do every single year as we set our goals. But the real growth lies in our ability to check our ego at the door and identify the stuff that holds us back. The “blind spots;” the intangibles that we’re unaware of, or even afraid to confront, are what separate us from the pack. The question is, where are you in the pack: the front, middle or rear?

Table 1 is a list of 25 absolutely essential skills of successful sales professionals who are consistently at the front of the pack. Where do you rank yourself from 1–10?

I am using this assessment as a coaching tool for my clients. It’s an effective place to start when looking at where the rep and the manager agree on both strengths and opportunities. Each rep completes this for him or herself and his or her manager completes the evaluation. I then debrief with each rep and manager where we identify three skills that the rep and the manager agree are strengths. We then look for opportunities for ways the rep can focus on doing these more in 2018. Then we look for three skills that both the rep and the manager feel there is a need to proactively work to improve. These six skills are an essential part of the sales rep’s 2018 personal development plan and each skill is reviewed in his or her weekly one-on-one sessions for progress.

As successful sales professionals are constantly looking for ways to consistently hone their craft, I challenge you and your manager to try the coaching and development scenario I’ve detailed above.

Think about it, if you focus on improving six of these skills in 2018, imagine the impact it would make on your 2018 success!

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From MENTOR. February 2018;9(2):6-7.

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