The Five Core Sales Skills

Timothy Kenny
A free video tutorial from Timothy Kenny
Author of "Accelerated Learning for Entrepreneurs"
4.1 instructor rating • 86 courses • 114,370 students

Learn more from the full course

Business the Hard Way Vol 1: Sales the Hard Way

Learn the ultimate framework for understanding sales and persuasion using logical argument trees and heuristics.

03:46:43 of on-demand video • Updated June 2016

  • Sell more effectively
  • Understand the deep structure of sales
  • See past the fallacy of "emotional sales"
English [Auto] Now let's talk about and get a little bit deeper into what are the core skills that a sales person must have. One of the most important is their ability to learn and there's a lot of different things they need to be able to learn about you to learn about who is this customer or prospective customer who's in my store or who I'm talking to that either you know I know nothing about or very little. So what is your ability to read this situation and get a handle on who is this person. You also have to learn about the various problems that your product solves. You also have to learn about your product or products. So do you have multiple products that solve the same problem or that solve related problems. Your job really is to connect people to solutions. You identify what problem or problems they have. And then you connect that to a product or service or a combination that's going to solve their problem. That's your job. We used to be part of your job. Now the one thing I do want to add is you have to understand a customer's organization also that falls under who they are but especially if you're doing business to business you may have multiple decision makers just getting in to organization and getting to a decision may make or may be a big part of your job getting in front of somebody. So understanding the politics understanding the organization that could be very very important for certain roles and the next thing is communication skills. And one of the most important communication jobs you have is communicating with yourself. And what that means is what is your ability to keep your spirits up to avoid burnout. I can remember when I was doing cold calling for one of my first businesses and I would get burnt out very quickly because I didn't have skills with communicating with myself that internal dialogue and also building up those core beliefs. Like do you feel good about what you're selling. Do you see it as part of a larger mission. How do you view doing the same thing over and over again. Does do you think about it as the same thing or do you focus on the differences and how different each interaction is. You also have social skills and emotional skills. OK. You've heard me talk about emotional labor before. You've taken some of my other courses. This is a way of thinking about a lot of jobs that were a big part of the job is making other people feel good. So somebody who is an emcee or a party planner somebody who's a secretary and a nurse. And these are jobs that historically have tended to be jobs that women did caretaking and they're often unpaid or lower paid jobs. However there are some you know an agent for a Hollywood actor or actress OK so emotional skills are important understood having empathy understanding of how somebody is feeling and what's a way to make them feel better or feel worse. Let's say you're trying to sell somebody on losing some weight. The best thing for them might be to really feel worse about where they are or somebody who wants to quit smoking. And you talk to them about how they're not going to be there for their daughter's wedding. That may be the push they need to quit smoking. So it's not always about feeling better. And you have to you know a preacher somebody who's a minister in a church they may talk about heaven but they may also talk about hell and how if you sin and you do bad things then you're going to go to hell and use that fear. So people want to go towards pleasure but they also want to avoid pain. And that's something that's that you need to you need to understand how to use you know if you're a chef you need to know how to use sugar you need to know how to use salt. So those emotional skills are very important social skills. Ultimately the way you're helping is to connect people to the solutions is you're in a social interaction so you have to know the basic rules etiquette going into different countries. For example there's going to be different rules. What are the sort of scripts that people follow that don't necessarily make sense except except in a very historical way and making sure that you respect those and you understand them and they don't get in the way of making the sale. OK so these skills are very important. We're not going to be getting into these skills in this course much because these are things that you can learn in other places. I may eventually talk about first sales how to develop your communication skills but that's not really what this course is about. This course is about giving you that framework to learn and to develop a very strong selling argument and have a framework for that so that you can improvise so you don't have to use a script even if you write a script and develops dealt with develop a script so that you can get your arguments strong and really think about it. Ultimately you won't need it because you have you have the ability to improvise just like a jazz musician. They've learned enough different riffs that they can put stuff together and play great music without having a score in front of them. And also remember this emotional labor. So just making people feel good making them remember you making them remember you in a positive way representing your company in a positive way. So what is emotional labor could be as simple as sending a happy birthday card or Merry Christmas card or something like that though or or putting a smile on your face when you first see somebody all just being friendly. Those are all things that fall under this idea of emotional labor. The next thing is negotiation skills and these are another thing that's really hard to understand what's going on. And the reason why is ultimately it's basically poker is it is something that has a lot of in common with negotiation skills because ultimately it's about knowing your opponent and also game theory which is a branch of mathematics and is related to economics. But a lot of it has to do with math and very complex math related to probabilities and other stuff like that. So this is not an even you know the best mathematicians in the world haven't figured out optimal ways for a lot of these negotiation problems. So there's rules of thumb you can follow. There are certain guesses you can make about another person just like in poker. But ultimately when it's a question of OK I'm at a price here you're at a price here. How do you fill that gap. Now there's other negotiation skills like the whole winwin framework where you don't focus on what people say they want necessarily but you figure out what do they really want at an abstract level. And two people may say they want different things but you may be able to find a third option that gives both people what they want and doesn't have the same negatives. So being able to problem solve like that is another important aspect of negotiation. So this is another hard thing to learn. And there there isn't. I may teach something on that at a later point but this isn't something where you're just going to learn a few principles and have it all figured out in the same way with poker as you get better and better. You literally know based on your hand and what other people do the various probabilities. You know there's a point one two probability of this and a point 1 7 probability of that. And so this is the decision you make and this decision will be wrong 40 percent of the time and this will be wrong. Maybe 50 percent of the time. So it's very hard to learn through experience. Oh that's wrong 50. This is wrong 40 so this is the better option. Takes a very long time to learn stuff like that but with math you can figure it out and get actual numbers on it so that you know you're making the optimal decision. And what makes it difficult is that the optimal decision is not always right in the sense that you don't always get the thing that you wanted you just if you do it enough times you'll notice that you're right 60 percent of the time or you get what you want 50 60 instead of 50. So that's one of the difficult things because people come in to learn it wanting to learn these skills and with some things. I mean actually with most things you can learn what the optimal decision is but people are looking for that magic pill that will give them what they want every time and has no risk. Well in a lot of situations that doesn't exist. So the optimal decision it just reduces the risk or gives you a better probability. And that's one of the things that with these soft skills with these skills where there's no one right answer or it's hard to know what the right answer is it's about making the optimal decision and using high risk sticks to do that. Another really important thing is operations. This is another thing we're not going to cover in this course but it is important it's something that has for the most part been figured out. So this is what is your process for getting leads. Following up time in between if you want to send a gift do you keep things in a file cabinet you keep them in a spreadsheet. Do you have a CRM. K What are what are the tools they are using. This is all operational stuff and this is one of the easiest aspects but it does belie the fact that it's not necessarily the most important but it is one of the areas where you can really get certainty and feel confident about something you just have to realize it may not be the most important thing in terms of are you a good closer or not. And the last thing is the argument tree and this is what we're going to be focusing on. We're going to be focusing on at the core of sales is this idea that you're making an argument and that argument has at the top buy this thing and underneath it it has some arguments and eventually you get down to individual pieces of evidence. The evidence could be a newspaper article. It could be the fact that you're credible or that your company won an award in certain fields. It's almost impossible to show at a specific level that your product is better than somebody else's product. It's sort of a guess. You have to use heuristics to make a decision because there's no apples to apples way to compare something so this is what you're getting in this course primarily. We're going to really break this down. And by the end of this course you're going to know exactly how to structure your arguments and really get a deep understanding of what it is that you're doing when you're making the sale. So learning about the customer and the problem and the products that helps you develop this. And it also helps you pair it up with the customer. So the customers here they have the things that they want and then you have your tree of lots of different arguments and you have to decide OK which arguments do I make how do I pair them off. And is that based on what this person wants. So these are the core skills. These other these one through four I'm not going to be covering or covering very briefly and tangentially. And number five which I believe is the key component is what you get here.