You Need These Sales Rep Skills to Exceed Your Goals

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do you know which sales rep skills you need in order to exceed your goals? If you had great success because of excellent discovery work, you’ll want to continue that practice this year. But if you want to rise to the top – to be a stellar seller – you’ll need to hone the skills that will get you there.

Sales Rep Skills That Matter

Like many sales reps, you may be working to perfect specific skills. In our research, sales reps told us that they struggle with challenging misconceptions and budget concerns from buyers (29%), networking (27%), and handling objections (27%). They also say, that to succeed, they should have confidence (52%), self-​motivation (51%) and problem-​solving skills (48%). If all this sounds familiar to you, that’s great. You are on the right track.

What do sales managers say? When looking to hire a new rep, managers want candidates who possess confidence (58%), time management skills (52%) and problem-​solving skills (52%).

You can see that sales reps and managers are not far apart in their vision of the skills needed to succeed in the profession. But are these the sales rep skills of top sellers? You know the ones I mean. Andy Springer articulates the benefits of rain makers clearly in his recent column. “Top-​performing sellers have higher average win rates, are 2.4 times more likely to meet sales goals, and are 1.7 times more likely to achieve premium pricing.” Every sales manager would like to have one or two of those top sellers in their organization.

In the Top-​Performing SellerSM report the RAIN Group analyzed the unique characteristics of reps who consistently turn in high win rates and the best prices. Let’s take a look.

Personal Effectiveness

One characteristic tracked by researchers in the high-​performing rep is time management. But we’re not talking about the usual kind of time management. Most reps realize they need to not waste time if they are going to be effective. 62% of the top reps, according to RAIN researchers, “maximize their time in a way to consistently deliver results.” As I mentioned in a blog last week, efficiently using time means prioritizing projects. By taking the time to consider which prospect or account is likely to deliver the biggest return to you in the long run, you’ll know which presentation to finish first and you'll improve a key sales rep skill. 

Relationship Management

As a seller, you believe that your confidence will help you succeed. You may be right. But what’s more important is how you build a relationship with a prospect. Relationship building is a key sales rep skill.

Buyers may start checking you out before you make contact with them. Our research shows they want to know how many years of experience (43%) a rep has as well as the number of years worked in the specific industry (36%). Take the time to maintain an up-​to-​date profile online to maintain your credibility.

Once you form a relationship with your prospect, they pay attention to how you treat them. They’ll notice if all you do is talk about how great your product is – behavior that will turn them off. But if you take the time to learn about their pain points and show that you’re interested in a long-​term relationship, they’ll be more willing to trust you with their business. And if you get to know them on a personal level, you can build loyalty.

Driving Growth

There’s a reason that consultative selling is so successful. In the consultative selling approach, reps take the time to understand a prospect’s business and their pain points. They then present solutions to the problems uncovered during discovery and present them effectively. As Springer remarks, top sales rep skills come into play here. Specifically, 65% of these reps “execute and implement growth plans.” Often, creative thinking rules when a rep sees a way to put together the solution that they are selling with a need their prospect has. This creative thinking may be fueled by extensive reading about the industry and developing an understanding of what has worked and what has failed for other businesses in the industry.

Key Sales Rep Skills

Like most sales professionals, you are striving to improve your outcomes. To generate the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time, focus on the sales rep skills that will bring you to the master-​class level.

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