Strategic Selling Skills

Carefully crafted questions will not only unlock the secrets to winning your prospect’s confidence but you can also win a space in your prospect’s kingdom. There are a wide range of skills you need to master to be successful in strategic sales, but here I am going to suggest just three that are absolutely necessary. What you need to know, though, is that I am not going to suggest anything to do with prospecting as this is a whole area of discourse that could deserve its own article. Rather I am going to focus on skills required when you are already engaged with a prospect. I am going to focus on what I consider to be the top three skills of strategic selling, and these are
  1. Asking great questions
  2. Listening critically
  3. Gaining agreement at various stages of the sales cycle
So why did I pick these three skills to be the top three skills of strategic selling? Because without these three none of the others would be relevant. Without the capacity to ask carefully crafted  questions you would not uncover enough about your prospect to make a relevant and timely presentation. And to properly qualify your prospect you need to ask questions and listen to the answers (of both what is said and all those things that are left unsaid). And if you are not gaining some sort of agreement from your prospect along the way then you do not have much hope of suddenly gaining agreement right at the end of your sales cycle. At this point it is well worth a closer look at these three skills: Carefully crafted questions consist of a series of qualifying (and disqualifying) questions, probing questions and trial closes (which jets us straight into skill number 3). Use carefully crafted questions and you will win your prospects confidence and with it a way to enter into his kingdom. Listening is a common ability that many of us have, but critical listening is a development of this common ability that develops into an ability to listen with intent and purpose. Critical listening involves the ability to sift through the answers you hear to determine what is important to your prospect, what are the prospects underlying goals, what are her/his fears and constraints as well as what will motivate him/her to select you over your competitors. And if you are selling in the corporate world where there are more than one decision maker you will need to listen carefully to hear what all of the key players are saying. Your listening will also need to pick through what is being said about your prospects evaluation process and using that information to develop your own selling approach for this opportunity. Listen critically and you will discover secrets about your prospects that you will be able to use to your advantage in making the sale. And now to our third skill – the skill of gaining small agreements along the way. Different to transactional sales, strategic sales take a long time. Typically the sales cycle of a strategic sale is often 3 to 12 months before it comes to fruition. You will typically visit your prospect many times along the way. It should be a clear goal you have in mind that at each session you have with your prospect that you should gain agreement to another step each time you meet. It can be just a small agreement but it needs to be something material to the overall goal of making your sale. Pay attention to these three skills and your strategic selling will become far easier than you might otherwise experience. What I must say, though, is that of these three skills carefully crafted questions are the keys to successful strategic selling. Contact KONA today on 1300 611 288 or email to discuss how we can help you start solving your business problems with our sales training professionals.