By Alice Heiman
The world is changing – and what it takes to succeed is changing also. Data scientists say we are now living in the “fourth industrial revolution.” This means that, by the year 2020, we’ll have become used to working in a world of
- Advanced robotics and autonomous transport.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
- Biotechnology and genomics.
According to the World Economic Forum’s report, The 10 Skills You Need to Thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, workers will need new skills to succeed (for example, critical thinking and cognitive flexibility). It’s also true that salespeople will need new skills to succeed in this era.
In fact, to be great at sales these days you need to tap into some skill sets you might not have tapped into before. I call these “Salesperson Superpowers.” Here are four that I feel are imperative.
In the past, having creativity simply wasn’t required. You had to be good at getting appointments, know your product well, and do a good pitch.
Let’s face it: Customers are 70 percent into the buying process before they even talk to a salesperson. That means you have to be creative about how you approach the sale – and you need to have creative solutions to bring to the table. Most of all, you need to be creative about how to get the prospect’s attention. People who need your products and services don’t want to be spammed. They don’t want to be cold called. So how will you get their attention? Then how are you going to keep it long enough to make the sale? The creativity superpower requires understanding your prospect, their business, and their industry better than ever before.
If you come up with a creative idea, you need the resources to deploy it. It is critical to understand how to employ the resources within your own company, the resources that may be available in industry organizations, and all the resources available via the Internet. If you know what’s out there to help yourself, you can add value for the customer by sharing these resources. Resourcefulness will help you get customers and, more importantly, keep them. It’s not easy to be resourceful, but resourceful people make more sales. The resourcefulness superpower comes with staying on top of things, being a great listener, perusing social media, and reading.
You need to build strong relationships with your connections so you can leverage them. It’s useless to have thousands of connections on LinkedIn and thousands of followers on Twitter if they aren’t real relationships. When you are well connected, you don’t need to cold call, because you can ask for an introduction.
Connectivity also allows you to connect your customers and prospects to valuable resources they may need. Connected salespeople are worth their weight in gold. Be nice, be genuine, and be helpful – then, people will want to connect with you. Get connected and stay in touch with people using social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Make a plan. Figure out how to make deeper connections with the people you already know. The connectivity superpower requires that you continually meet people and develop mutually beneficial relationships.
This may sound silly, but – now more than ever – fearlessness is a must. People tend to think salespeople are naturally fearless and used to rejection. The truth is salespeople are not fearless when it comes to asking hard questions and gathering information. If you don’t know how to ask without seeming pushy, then you might not ask at all. The secret to fearlessness is great preparation. When you know your stuff, have planned, and have practiced, you have the confidence to be fearless. Stop worrying about rejection. If you tell yourself you can’t get something before you even ask for it, then you won’t get it. Ask! What’s the worst that can happen? The fearlessness superpower only comes with the hard work of becoming an expert – plan, practice, and execute extraordinarily.
Which superpowers do you possess? Which do you wish you had? Make a plan to exercise the superpowers you have and acquire the ones you need.
Keep reading Selling Power, find a mentor, or form a mastermind and make your professional development a priority. Good luck developing your superpowers!
Alice Heiman is founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC. Alice works with business owners to get consistent and sustainable sales growth – and has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. She regularly co-hosts the Sales 3.0 Conference and is a certified Peak Performance Mindset trainer.