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Is there a place for soft skills in today’s sales environment?

by Paul Walker

Though sales is one of the oldest professions, today’s customers with help from an array of resources via the internet and social media are more knowledgeable than ever, they need more than order takers to fulfil their needs. To achieve success, Healthcare companies must get beyond the traditional idea of salespeople and do more than merely sell.

Hello, I’m Paul Walker and with over thirty years’ experience in both the Pharmaceutical and medical devices industries I’ve seen and been involved with the vast changes to selling within the medical environment and what really makes the difference for the benefit of both the customer and the sales professional

While this can present challenges for many, it is also an opportunity for salespeople to achieve more than a short-term win. It is no longer enough or appropriate to just talk through a glossy brochure highlighting the features and benefits of a particular product. It is highly likely the buyer has already done their homework via Google, YouTube, and the like even before they connect with you

For salespeople: What more can they do to be seen a valuable resource?

Today’s sales professionals must offer more value…

The question is how to do more for customers who need more than just a salesperson.

Here are nine soft skills sales professionals must enhance to offer their customers greater value:

  1. Active Listening: Learn to listen, to understand the needs/challenge of the customer.
  2. Communication: Sales professional must master the art of communication by which ever means.
  3. Problem Solving: See yourselves as problem solvers over salespeople. This means working toward a result and a solution for the customer.
  4. Empathy: The ability to understand another’s difficulties is critical to forming a strong empathic relationship
  5. Consultative approach: Rather than telling prospects what they need, you ask prospects thought-provoking questions that help identify their needs
  6. Customer Service: Add the personal touch, give the confidence you are there for the customer
  7. Resilience: There is no sure certainty. Often, you do everything to align the decision makers, and everyone seems enthusiastic, but they still hold off.
  8. Decisiveness: Once you have evaluated, listened, checked understand then your decisiveness can be just what the customer needs
  9. Persuasion: The difference between good and bad persuasion is the intent. If the solution really is the best, you’re doing a good thing.

Collectively these softer skills will provide the salesperson an increased value connection with their customers leading to a stronger business relationship where both sides benefit.

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