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Sales Skills That Matter

Most important sales skills for small business ownersWhatever your business, it all comes down to one thing – selling. You are either selling product, selling services or selling yourself and your expertise. Within that sales spectrum, you are probably surrounding yourself with marketing ideas, cost and inventory controls, public relations strategies and management of your staff and workflow. But if you’re not selling something…anything…you’re not surviving.

Small companies often look to affordable professional services and products, like ZarMoney cloud accounting software, for instance, to help run their businesses efficiently and economically. That’s smart. The good and the bad thing is that there’s no magic to it.

Fortunately, it’s a skill set that is within reach for all of us, especially if we remember that the primary goal of a business is to win customers and maintain their loyalty.

So what are the key sales skills you need to possess?

There’s No Need to Rush

One of the first rules of selling is that (unless you’re actually a used car salesperson) you’re not selling used cars. In other words, fast talk and stopping at nothing to close a deal doesn’t help your business in the long run. You want to walk away from each transaction feeling that all parties are satisfied. This may require a bit of “give and take” on both sides, but just keep in mind that you are building a relationship that, hopefully, will come back to you again and again.

In that same vein, selling is not a 100-yard dash; it’s a marathon. The more strategic the relationship is that you’re nurturing, the longer it sometimes takes to build that solid foundation. The real reward is in cultivating repeat business, not in completing a one-time sale. If you can turn relationship-building into a key strength, you will gain a competitive advantage in your business field. So slow down – take the time to do things right when selling, and it can pay off handsomely for you.

Rely on Your Lifelong Instincts

Some people confuse selling with performing. In some ways, this surely is true – except for one thing. You should always be selling. It’s not something that you prepare for, then make a big splash and return to your normal business day. The way you carry yourself, how you talk to business associates and customers alike, your pricing philosophy, even your overall office or shop environment, should be geared toward sales. By maintaining that kind of mode, you never get caught off guard; you never have to build up your confidence. It becomes a natural aspect of your business and marketing philosophy.

Sale Doesn't End By Product Being Sold

Now you might say: Oh, wait, aren't we talking sales skills here?" And you would be right. The thing is that sales skills are very much important even after the product has exchanged hands and money arrived in your bank account.

But why?

Because its expensive to lose a customer. It is up to 5x more expensive to sell to a new customer than it is to retain old customer and keep selling to him. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70 %, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.


  • Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x as likely to try a new offering.
  • U.S. companies lose $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable consumer switching.
  • American Express found 33% of customers will consider switching companies after just one instance of poor customer service.

And that is already a solid reason to focus on customer retention, to be at hand when your customer needs it, and to not neglect customer just because you already have his money.

Be Active Listener

Active listening is a technique that is used in counselling, training and solving disputes or conflicts. It requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said. Listening skills may establish flow rather than closed-mindedness.

Everybody likes to have a good, active listener around. Not only are these people pleasant to talk to, but they are also much more efficient in understanding other peoples needs, are more empathetic by default and are capable of offering higher-value services in less time and for a better price.

So what is stopping you from being an active listener, from helping your customer achieve their goals rather than just looking after your own goals?

Learn more about what is active listening and how to use it in this guide by Wikipedia. 

Make The Most Of Your Time

Time management is the process of organizing and planning your time between and during specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress.

In business its often said that Workday ends when you decide it ends, not when work is done. Work is never done. And it's certainly true. As a business owner, especially the small business owner, there is always more to be done. From managing your employees to learning new skills to hiring new employees to help you manage your business, to getting new clients on board, to improving tools you are working with, to market research, to product innovation, to employee education, ... The list is virtually endless, and when you think everything is done, it's not.

There is always another certification you can apply for, there is always another customer that needs a little push with free product and service to convince him to place that much larger order.

So when there is always more to be done, it is a good habit to make sure you manage the time you set for work efficiently, to manage as many things as quality as possible.

Learn more about time management in this article by Mind Tools.com. 

There Are Always More

That the list of skills to possess is short? There are more, actually many more skills to be possessed by a skilled salesperson.

  • Product knowledge
  • Strategic prospecting
  • Rapport building
  • Agreement negotiation
  • Communication in general
  • Qualification evaluation of potential customer
  • Objection foreseeing and prevention
  • Demo presentation skills
  • Commitment inducing
  • Proper deal closing
  • After sale care, customer follow up
  • and more!

Key Takeaways

In this brief article, we have taken a look at the most important sales skills a good small business owner is to posses should he/she succeed and the business thrive. These include:

  • Working in the proper tempo
  • Rely on instincts
  • After-sale care is maybe even more important than the sale itself
  • Be an active listener
  • Manage your time efficiently
  • There is always more skills that will help you out

Now with all the skills and resources, we provided you to develop your business it is up to you how you use them.

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