Critical Skills for Inside Sales

Inside sales careers are among the fastest growing trends in the industry. If you are wondering if you have the "right stuff" to make it in an inside sales position, consider this list of the most critical skills needed for the inside sales industry.

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Listening Skills

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People communicate in many ways. Psychologists suggest that our body language says a lot more than do our words. But for an Inside Sales rep, reading body language is impossible when speaking with a prospect or customer on a phone.

That means that inside sales professionals need to rely very heavily on their listening skills to a greater extent than do Outside Sales reps.

Inside reps need have excellent listening skills to not only fully understand what the person on the other side of the phone is saying, but also what they are not saying. To build this skill takes strong questioning skills and a focus on listening how your customers answer the questions.

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Rapport Building

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Having the ability to "make friends" and to get people to like you is challenging enough when meeting with a prospect face to face. It is quite a bit harder when you are trying to build rapport over the phone.

The main thing to realize about rapport building is that the best way to build rapport is by being yourself. Think about how much rapport you feel with someone whom you feel is being "fake." Act fact to a customer and you will have zero chance at building trust.

Building rapport over the phone demands that you show respect by demonstrating that you have done your homework and understand your prospect's business, their challenges and how your product or service can help them. Speak in generalities, make big promises or make a call being unprepared are great ways to tell the customer that you do not feel that their time is important and a fantastic way to ruin any chance of building rapport.

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In all likelihood, inside ​sales reps will be handling many different accounts. Having the organizational skills to keep information about each account is critical to making sure nothing "slips through the cracks." Keeping information organized not only can impress a customer but can also reduce the stress involved in the sales industry.

Be careful not to over-think your organization strategy, however. Find a system that works for you and keep to you. It's fine to make continual enhancements to your organizational strategy but switching from method to method will find you always at the starting line.

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Delivering on Promises

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Thanks in large part to unprofessional telemarketers, people don't trust what other people say to them over the phone. While some telemarketers are honest and professional, the perception is that they are "scammers:" seeking only to make a sale.

Because of this, it is critical that inside sales professionals deliver on every single promise they make, no matter how small. Tell a customer that you will call them back at a certain time? Make sure you call them exactly when you told them you would. Promise to email the customer some information in 30 minutes? Send the email out in 20 minutes.

The more promises you can deliver on, the closer you will be to both building trust and making a customer.

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Positive Attitude Towards Traning

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Many companies that employ inside ​sales professionals provide plenty of training. Some take it a bit too far and have training programs, classes or meeting every day. Finding the right balance between training and execution is a fine art that most sales companies struggle with.

However, training in the sales industry is very important and needs to be viewed as such by the sales team. As long as you don't train so often that you don't have time to sell, you should value whatever training is offered and make a goal of finding at least one thing of value in every training, session or meeting that you attend.