12 Modern Sales Skills That Can Benefit Your Business

Sales hasn’t always had the best reputation. It conjures up images of overly enthusiastic businessmen in suits at your door or pushy telemarketers on the phone just as you sit down to dinner. But sales doesn’t have to be that way, and as an entrepreneur, it’s important to develop the modern sales skills that propel your business forward.

Below, members of Forbes Coaches Council explain one necessary sales skill new entrepreneurs, or anyone wanting to improve their sales skills, should develop.

1. Read Your Lead For Sales Mastery

Everyone has a way in which they prefer to be communicated with. If you learn to “read” your prospects preferred communication style, you will know how they like to be sold to. Then simply adapt your own sales style and tailor your presentation to what they prefer. Learning behavioral selling is a matter of training with someone who is an expert in DISC and practicing.   - Janet ZaretskyThe Zenith Business

2. Have A Follow-Up Strategy

Eighty percent of all sales are made after the fifth contact, yet most entrepreneurs stop after one. Great news: Follow-up is simply a strategy. First, keep a list of the prospects you need to follow up with. Second, keep good notes. When did you call? Did you leave a message? What did you learn about the prospect during the call? Third, choose the date you will call them next and put it on your calendar.   -Michele ScismDecisive Minds, LLC

3. Fill The Urgent Need

Sales is about relationships and relationships are about trust. Trust is built when you invest in your prospect before you ask them to invest in you. Ask great questions, really listen, and then take action on what your prospect said is important to them. Fill their urgent need first, and you turn a one-time transaction into a long-term relationship.   - Meridith Elliott-PowellMotionFirst

4. Use The “Yes Test” 

Most entrepreneurs try to close the sale too quickly. Instead of making a proposal before the person is ready to invest in what you offer, try using the ”Yes Test.” After you’ve gotten clarity about their problems and desires, gauge their interest in your product or service by asking, “How are you feeling about this so far?” Only if they give an eager response should you try to close.   - Greg FaxonGreg Faxon Enterprises, LLC

5. Stop Selling And Start Co-Creating

Co-create solutions with your prospects. State your understanding of their problem and the outcome they are expecting to achieve. Next, ask them, “Where shall we go from here?” Your prospect, now understanding your capabilities, will begin to outline the solution that fits their time frame and budget. Now they are waiting for you to say, “Yes, let’s get started! Here is the first step.”    - Debora McLaughlinThe Renegade Leader Coaching & Consulting Group

6. Detach Yourself Personally

Your worth is not defined by how many sales you close, which can be a hard concept to grasp at first. When you are completely detached from the outcome it allows you to be present with your potential client. Your client will also sense that there’s no pressure from you, which will create a sense of ease both within yourself and the client. Where there is safety, there are sales.   - Jenn LedererJenn Lederer, LLC

7. Stop Assuming Your Prospects Can’t Afford You

Mission critical to entrepreneurial success is to stop making presumptions about who can afford you and who will pay for your services. You’ve got to believe in the ROI of what you have to offer, sell it at a living wage, and don’t falter. If prospects are made confident that your service can make a difference, they will find a way to pay for it. Avoid the black hole of undercharging.   - Laura DeCarloCareer Directors international

8. Become An Engaged Listener

Listening is the most important skill a salesperson will ever develop. Effective listening builds rapport and trust, and ensures that the other person’s concerns and needs are being met. A new entrepreneur can become a more engaged listener by asking questions that probe, seek clarity, focus on solutions, and put the power to solve a problem or challenge into the other person’s hands.   - Ascanio PignatelliE3 Solutions

9. Give Before You Get

We live in a world where everyone wants something. Learn to develop rapport: understanding who people are, what matters to them, and how you can help them be more successful in what they do. Add value to them regardless of the sale.   - Camille Preston, PhD, PCCAIM Leadership, LLC

10. Focus On Clean Selling

Clean selling means selling as service. When you’re super clear about helping your client determine what’s best for them, whether or not that means working with you, everything goes better. Everything. They will never forget that oh-so-rare feeling of being cared for, heard and respected. Their gratitude will come back to you ten-fold, and your business will benefit in ways you can’t imagine.   - Wendy Pitts ReevesC2C Consulting, PLLC

11. Use Different Touch Points To Connect

Unless you have a proprietary product, your prospect has multiple ways to acquire what you’re selling. Focus on establishing your relationship and giving without reciprocity. Use different touch points to connect with them, break up the monotony and remain present until they’re ready to purchase. An article, quick text, or invitation to a networking event can be the catalyst to closing new business.   -Cory BoyasCory Boyas

12. Ditch The Razzle Dazzle And Focus On Continuous Improvement

Sales is as rich and complex a domain as any other, so the first and most necessary sales skill for a new entrepreneur is that of deliberate and consistent practice. Every networking event, sales pitch and consultation is an opportunity to practice a new phrase, tone, body language, cadence, structure — and then to reflect on what worked, what didn’t and why.   - Taylor JacobsonTeamPossible: Achieve more of what matters

By Forbes Coaches Council