Most associations understand that the old, high-pressure sales tactics of the past are no longer useful. Today’s businessman wants solutions from providers who actually understand the modern business environment – and who are dedicated to helping their clients succeed.
That means you might have to update your sales team’s skills to deliver what your members want. Here are the four essential sales skills your sales reps need to brush up on:
- Conversations and Relationship Building. In order to be successful these days, you need to build trust with your members – and that starts with building meaningful business relationships with them. Your sales team needs to know the industry inside and out, as well as your audience’s unique business world. Having this knowledge will enable them to ask intelligent questions to learn what your audience really wants and needs from your association, and offer solutions to help them succeed. You can also build these relationships by using your industry knowledge to educate your members and prospects. By offering them new ideas and perspectives on their business challenges, you’ll show them the value in your association.
- Social Media. Maybe it goes without saying, but it’s an important point: Social media is an essential tool for any modern sales professional. Just about everyone is on at least one social network. Many people use social media to get suggestions and reviews before joining. Your audience may check out your social media profiles to see how you interact with your members, and they may tap their networks for more information about you. Your sales team needs to understand how people use social media, and which social platforms your audience is most likely to frequent. They also need to know the basics of these networks, so that they can use them to learn what your audience is looking for, and to help build those all-important relationships.
- Collaboration vs. Selling. Another crucial skill for modern sales reps is the ability to collaborate with your audience to come up with effective solutions to their specific needs. Including potential members in the planning process will ensure that they’re more engaged with the association and more satisfied with a successful outcome. This translates to a stronger relationship with your association, and a higher likelihood of retaining their membership.
- Adaptability.While not as concrete as the other skills on this list, adaptability is an important trait for your sales team. Things change fast these days – whether it’s a new social network, a new business challenge, or new technology that changes the way your audience interacts with your association. Your sales team needs to be flexible enough to adapt quickly to these changes and adjust their approach to meet changing needs.
With these sales skills in your team’s toolbox, you’ll be well on your way to selling more solutions and becoming more indispensible to your members and prospects.