Entrepreneurship is on the rise. Success, however, remains frustratingly elusive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only 50% of businesses survive their first five years.
Entrepreneurs need a mix of skills and qualities to be successful from vision and creativity to risk-taking and perseverance. The ability to sell, though, is often a make-or-break factor. After all, what good is a great product or service if you can’t get people to buy it?
With that in mind, here are five skills sales training companies say can be pivotal to your entrepreneurial success.
Know your unique selling proposition (USP)
Today’s marketplace is flooded with products and services that are very similar to each other. As a result, it’s more important than ever to know what makes yours unique. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in the shuffle and that can be the kiss of death for entrepreneurs.
Your USP is what sets you apart from your competition. When well communicated, it makes you the only logical choice for potential customers. To develop a strong USP, start by identifying your target market. Then determine what needs your product or service meets that are not currently being serviced.
Once you have a general idea, craft a USP that is clear, concise, and memorable. Make sure it’s something you can easily communicate to potential customers.
Learn the art of storytelling
The ability to tell a great story is a major asset for entrepreneurs. Storytelling stirs up emotions, which play a big role in purchasing decisions. A study by Brainshark found that storytelling can increase win rates by 27%.
The best stories are ones that are relatable and connect with the buyer on a personal level. They also need to be believable, say sales trainers. So, don’t stretch the truth. Nothing damages your credibility or that of your company faster than being caught in a lie.
Know the difference between features and benefits
Features are the distinct characteristics of your product or service. Benefits are the positive outcomes your customer will experience after using those features. For example, a car’s features might include a four-wheel drive and GPS. The benefits are that the car can handle tough terrain and allow you to drive with confidence.
People don’t care about what your product does. They care about what it can do for them. Research by Gong found that focusing on benefits can lead to 32% more closed deals. So, when you’re selling, focus on the benefits rather than the features. You can always list the features later but start by highlighting what’s in it for the customer.
Build strong relationships
People like to do business with people they trust. One of the best ways to build trust is by developing long-term relationships. In fact, according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers say they’re more likely to recommend brands that they have a positive relationship with.
Referrals are another by-product of strong relationships. When you have a network of satisfied customers, they’ll be more likely to recommend your business to others. A study by Texas Tech University found that referrals can lift revenue between 25% and 50%.
Taking a keen interest in your customers is a great way to build relationships. Get to know them on a personal level. Find out what motivates them and what their goals are.
Be an astute negotiator
Negotiating with suppliers, partners, investors, and customers is a regular part of being an entrepreneur. The sharper your negotiating skills, the more successful your business will be. For one thing, you’ll be able to get better deals on the products and services you need to run your business. You’ll also be able to close more deals and get more favorable terms from investors.
To hone your negotiating skills, sales training companies advise not skipping out on your homework. Think about what you want and what you’re willing to give up. Also, what the other person may want. Once you clearly understand both sides, it will be much easier to find common ground and reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a successful entrepreneur. Working to get these five sales skills up to scratch can help give you a leg up. So, practice them often so you can whip them out for use when the time is right.