How to Develop Competitive Sales Skills
Developing competitive sales skills focuses on being prepared to perform under pressure, in any type of situation or environment.
Sales professionals who have competitive sales skills are the ones who think of sales in the same way professional athletes think of their jobs: with confidence about their own abilities and fear of their equally skilled competitors who may be better at using their abilities.
Confidence, born from focus, attention and ongoing skill development is the chief ingredient for success, no matter what industry you are in.
So, whether you’re training yourself, or your team, it can be challenging to determine specific areas of development that are important to focus on.
That’s why, in addition to the insights shared by Steve Bookbinder in the video above, there are 4 important lessons that you must also focus on in order to gain a competitive advantage and own your success.
Approach big challenges differently than you do day-to-day challenges.
Thinking about the future tends to cause our brains to minimize the obstacles we'll face and instead focus on desired outcomes. We look at goals differently based on whether they are a short-term or long-term goals. For instance, 3-months ago when you booked a trip home to see your family, you were focused on abstract ideas like “quality time with my family and friends” or “downtime.” But I would imagine when it came time to actually leave for your trip, you were more concerned about your immediate needs like: "what should I pack" or “how am I getting to the airport?” It is only when goals get closer and more immediate that people start to think about them more concretely. So, focus on making small, incremental lifestyle changes that may feel less glamorous, but will have a much greater chance of creating real change in your life.
Always be realistic about your starting point when facing a big challenge.
There is no advantage in exaggerating your abilities or skills; it’s more productive when you acknowledge areas in need of development and then set out to improve upon those areas in order to achieve your goals. Asking the right questions will help lead you down the right path. But that requires being honest with yourself, and not coming up with an unrealistic plan that you’re overwhelmed by, instead aim to take stop steps each day. And remember, play within your own abilities, and recognize constraints of your product, your company, and the marketplace.
Focus on identifying everything that can go wrong, rather than blindly trusting optimism.
While it is good to remain positive and confident that you will prevail, that is not the fuel that will help you prepare fully and give you the confidence you will need to overcome your biggest fears. Fear makes most people stop. But we can use our fear and feeling of being uncomfortable to propel us forward. Consider holding yourself accountable by involving a friend, co-worker, or partner to hold your feet to the fire. When we have support as well as keep pushing ourselves forward by stepping out of our comfort-zone, those are times that test our abilities and help us grow and gain a better understanding of our own work styles.
Don’t stop until you reach your goal.
The competitive sales professional will stop at nothing. They are driven, focused, and persistent.
Whatever you’re selling, you’ve got competition. Somebody besides you is selling to your clients and customers on a regular basis. Assume that it’s a zero sum game, which means that if someone is getting “more”, then someone else is getting “less.” While we can’t control all of the factors involved in making a sale, we can certainly take all the right steps to properly prepare.
In a competitive situation like a playoff game or a race, every player wants to win at the start of the game --- the consistent winner isn’t the person who wants it bad enough at the starting line; it’s the person who was willing to prepare on all of the days leading up to the big game day!
Competitive salespeople beat their competitors as well as their own best records from previous years by focusing on all four of these lessons.
To develop your skills as a sales professional, you must work towards understanding yourself and equally as important, you need to understand your competition.
The best competitive sellers are willing to do whatever it takes and they ask themselves:
- What are my competitors doing that I should be doing? Or shouldn’t be doing?
- How many prospecting calls will they make?
- How will they prepare for their sales meetings? Oh and by the way, these are sales meeting that are with the same type of people you want to meet with.
- How will they handle objections?
- How will they answer the tough question: “how are you different from your competitors?” How will they make their offering sound compelling and ROI+?
- What are they doing to prepare for a successful year that includes beating you at your game?
Unless you consider these questions — even if the answers scare you — you will not as likely prevail like a competitive salesperson. So gather your confidence, skills, and go out there and conquer the sales world!
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.