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How to Be a Good Salesperson in 2018

By Troy Wilson
How to Be a Good Salesperson in 2018 Feature Image
7 minute read

Whether you’re brand new and just learning how to sell life insurance, or a sales veteran interested in learning the newest, best aged leads tricks, there’s always more to learn in sales.

In this post, I’ll cover basic “hard” skills for any sales business, “soft” skills that will improve your interactions with people, and auxiliary skills that will take your sales performance to the next level.

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Hard Skills

Product Knowledge

An old tip, but an important one, product knowledge is a great foundation to build yourself to a better sales career in 2018. Whether you’re new or an old hat, there’s always more to know about your particular lines of business.

Make sure you’re knowledgeable about what you sell. It will certain inspire confidence in your prospects, as well as yourself, when you can answer any question or sales objection easily. You’ll also get at better consultative sales, matching your prospects with the best product to suit their needs.

Pipeline Management

Another key area to become a better salesperson is understanding pipeline management. Your leads don’t just fall into your sales funnel themselves and come out the other side as a closed sale. That takes work on your part.

You have a lot of say in how your leads progress through your pipeline, slower or faster, the numbers and types of sales touches they experience through your nurturing efforts. And you can always work to improve areas of your pipeline where leads gets stuck or drop out more frequently.

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Sales Systemization

In today’s sales world, particularly if you are working with aged leads, you’ve got to have a system. Without a system, you won’t be as effective as you could be and you will miss out on some great opportunities.

Being a good salesperson means getting organized. So plan to update your scripts, organize your leads in lead management software like a CRM system. Have a method for working your leads through the phones, and for following up with emails, mailers, or meetings.

Consultative Sales

Consultative sales is a sales system that has been around for years, but it’s just as valuable today as ever. Particularly with insurance, you’ll be a better salesperson if you can master this skills area.

Consultative selling requires knowing your product, but also knowing human nature. You’ll need to ask the right questions of your prospects in the right way and at the right time. Listening to their answers will be key. Then, you’ll pull everything together to recommend just the right products based on their needs.

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Soft Skills

Active Listening

Another key skill you’ll need for being a good salesperson is the ability to listen. Talking has its place, but sometimes you just need to shut up and listen. Moreover, listening is not waiting to talk again, or just taking in the gist of what a prospect says. Active listening is where your sales will really improve.

With active listening, you will learn how to listen attentively to everything your lead says — as well as what he doesn’t say. Not only will you learn how your prospect sees her pain points, but your prospect will also tell you what isn’t as important, by not bringing it up. Of course, your lead won’t tell you everything you need to know, so you’ll need to learn how to interject with follow-up questions. That will get you all the info you need to sell that particular lead.  

Relationship Building

All sales are based on a people-to-people connection. If a prospect doesn’t feel like there’s a real person who cares on the other end of the line, if they don’t feel like they have any common ground with you, if they don’t know whether to trust you — you won’t be able to close many sales.

Therefore, relationships are everything if you want to be a better salesperson. There are many ways to build that connection and trust. You can bond over commonalities, like your city, your local sports teams, the same alma mater, or even taking the same routes to your respective jobs. You can build much of your client relationship with active listening and consultative sales skills. These help you close, but also tell the lead you care about their needs.

Sales Psychology

Another skill that can help you quickly rise to the top is to understand a bit of sales psychology. We all like to think that us humans are perfectly rational thinkers who always make careful, considered decisions. While that’s true some of the time, emotion plays a big role in most folks’ decision-making process.

Recognizing the role emotion plays in your leads’ choices can help make you a better salesperson. You can become a storyteller, explaining how the right insurance could help your lead protect his family from hardship. You could adjust your approach to match your lead — fast talkers like other fast talkers, slow talkers prefer slow talkers. And you could narrow down options so you don’t overwhelm — you can always introduce another option later if needed.

Aux Skills

Tech Savviness

One area where there’s a real opportunity to pull ahead is in technology. If you love technology and know how to use it smartly in your business, you’re already ahead of many other salespeople. This year, think about how you could further integrate technology into your sales business to boost your efficiency and work more leads.

Automation is a key area for insurance sales right now. If you can automate your email campaigns, parts of your lead nurturing cycle, and so forth, you can work many more leads, which means more sales. Getting comfortable with CRM software and dialer tech will mean you can make the best of the best aged leads opportunities, too.

Digital Marketing

Marketing today goes beyond having a billboard, a bus bench, or an ad in the phonebook. Today’s marketing is digital. You’ll be a better salesperson if you can get the hang of technology as it relates to marketing.

Consider updating your website, or consider running web-based lead magnet campaigns for specific lines of business. You could also get into SMS text messaging marketing or ringless voicemail, if your local ordinances allow it. Then there’s social media. There are dozens of social media networks to choose from if you want to have more online contact with leads and clients.

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Data Analysis

Every business generates data, but many don’t put that information to good use. With your CRM, your dialer, your email marketing system, your website analytics, you’ve got more than enough data to start improving your business and becoming a better salesperson.

Looking to your CRM data could tell you where most of your sales pipeline drop offs are occurring. Your dialer could tell you what time more of your prospects are answering your calls. Your email system could tell you which messages are getting opened and which could be improved. And your website data could tell you how leads are using your site and if your CTAs are effective.

Final Thoughts

Some parts of the sales business never change, but in 2018, you can become a better salesperson by adding new skills in tech, marketing, and data analysis. Paired with a solid foundation of hard and soft skills, you’ll be ready to take your sales performance to the next level.

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About Troy Wilson

Troy is the CEO and founder of Aged Lead Store. He has been in the lead generation industry for over two decades. His blog posts focus on how to refine your sales process and get the most out of your insurance leads, mortgage leads, and solar leads.

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