Selling is a tough job…
The challenging global economy, change in consumer buying habits and the shift towards customer-centric selling, has made sales a very challenging profession.
So what can give you the edge?
For sure, experience is a huge factor.
Experimenting with different ideas and learning from trial and error is a proven way to improve. Not only can you hone your skills, but you can also identify and scrap the stuff that doesn’t work in your sales pipeline.
But the reality is that to get really good, you need to clock up a lot of practice – and that can take time. In fact, some experts argue that to master a skill, you need to accumulate 10,000 hours of practice. Now most of us haven’t got the time (or patience) to wait that long! So here’s some good news that can shortcut this learning process – significantly.
It’s simply to learn from the thought leaders in the industry by studying the right books.
1. Accelerate your learning and get an edge
Experience counts for a lot, but if you depend upon what you know, your learning is going to be limited by the opportunities and situations that you encounter on a day to day basis.
The good news is that you can instantly broaden your experience by studying the tools and techniques revealed in top-notch books. Not only will you get inspired to try new stuff, you can also improve on what you’re currently doing, as well as discovering state of the art thinking.
As a result, you may find that 10,000 hours is no longer needed to achieve the success you desire.
2. Stay up to date
The truth is, it’s no longer about WHAT you sell, but HOW you sell.
In the past, a lot of selling was done via cold calling. The problem with this tactic is that it has turned sales into a numbers game. But as you’ve probably experienced, this approach misses the point of what a skilled salesperson can achieve.
Fundamentally, sales is about persuasion – and in this internet driven age, you can’t woo customers with credentials and statistics about how “amazing” your products and services are. In addition, you can’t annoy someone into buying who doesn’t recognise they have a need in the first place.
Research suggests that customers find it much harder than businesses to differentiate between the competition. This means that for lots of businesses, a good sales rep can be a powerful differentiator. After all, if you can make the right connections, build trust and provide solutions, instead of being seen as a pushy salesperson, you can be embraced as a trusted associate who is in a position to deliver results.
By discovering what’s working NOW, you can become a key person in your business as well as a trusted partner to your customers.
3. Develop the right personal skill set
To succeed in sales, it’s not all about the knowledge you have of sales tools and sales techniques.
In addition, successful sales reps develop the personal strength to push through the procrastination, fear and uncertainty that are inherent within the sales profession.
Reading books can be a quick and easy way to identify the personal skills necessary to make it in sales. From developing resilience, confidence and the motivation and determination to press on, the right books can reveal proven tactics to ensure you are successful.
Five key resources to learn from
In recent years there has been some valuable research and studies into sales techniques, behaviours and strategies.
Over the next few weeks check back to this blog and you’ll discover a quick synopsis of five of the most influential sales books I’ve read recently. Each article will give you a flavour of the key points.
We’re going to look at:
- The Leaky Funnel – by Hugh Macfarlane
- Predictable Revenue – by Aaron Ross
- Cold Calling 3.0 – by Wyn N. Davies
- SPIN Selling – by Neil Rackham
- The Challenger Sale – by Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson
And if you want to ensure you don’t miss these important articles, why not join our list? You’ll get a free eBook in return.
Do you have a favourite sales book? Is there a system that you swear by in order to achieve success? If so, please leave a comment below and share your favourite way of staying sharp.