Today’s Sales Tip – What is the most important skill in sales?

When I ask this question to sales trainers, sales coaches, sales people, sales managers or sales executives, the answers are all over the board. You’ll hear:
– ‘Closing, with closing a sale, a sales person is nothing.’
– ‘prospecting, if a sales person doesn’t find new prospects, they can’t find new business.’
– ‘have to ask questions! If a sales person can’t ask good questions to move the sale forward, that sales person has a hole in their funnel.’
– ‘be able to become a useful resource, not just a sales person for our clients.’
All of these are true, mostly depending on your time and place as a sales professional. If you just joined a sales team of a Fortune 500 company, you better be able to Close! Hands down, you better be able to ask great questions and become a useful resource to clients. Otherwise you will be looking for a new gig before you know it.
Though I don’t know how many people jump right into roles where the sales messaging is bullet proof, the sales process is nailed and the 6 most important questions to ask are defined before you start your first day, but I’d be willing to bet that more often sales people don’t have this laid out. They need to figure things out.
Learn Fast, Fail Faster!
When I started in my career working for technology companies and interacting daily with board members and investors, I found it amazing that product and services don’t matter. Whether working with an incubator, seed investor or venture capital investor, they all invest in the team. In other words, the people. Not the product or service. Why? Because the people make the difference; products and services can be copied and made more efficient or effective. The people on the other hand can’t be copied so easily.
Now the tie into the sales profession, sales is one of the few careers that you can literally change you social status and you don’t need a degree or random 3 letters after your name. You just need to think like an entrepreneur, Learn fast and Fail faster. This means that you need to spot a need fast, whether it’s you noticing that all clients respond a specific way to something you say or noticing a need across a couple of your clients. Learn fast! The other part is Fail faster, don’t keep trying something if you are not getting the results you want or expect. Another way to say it, adapt faster. Notice something that needs to change, don’t like the outcome of a question, whatever it is, change it and change it fast.
When you are in sales, you really are kinda like your own company. In charge of what you do all day, everyday. You control your own destiny. The only question is how much do you want?