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6 Critical Selling Skills

The Six Critical Skills are the “muscles” that give strength and flexibility to the Sales and Service Framework.

Richardson Sales Training’s  Six Critical Skills for Professional Selling give you the power and agility to apply the Consultative Selling Framework effectively. They allow you to use your natural strengths to create a dialogue, foster openness and trust needed to understand customer needs, communicate in a compelling way, and close profitable business. These advanced selling skills work together in a highly dynamic and interactive way and must be mastered in order to be most effective in your role as a sales professional.

6 critical selling skills


The 6 Critical Selling Skills

1. Positioning

The first critical selling skill is positioning. Positioning is presenting information persuasively throughout the sales call. Positioning helps to differentiate products and services by using words to shape clients’ perceptions and encouraging clients to listen and remember.

2. Listening

Another critical selling skill is listening. Listening is the ability to concentrate on meaning. There are three levels of listening: zoned out (not involved at all), efficient (engaged but thinking about the other things), and effective (fully engaged). Listening at the highest level creates effective client dialogue.

3. Questioning

Questioning is perhaps the most important professional selling skill. Salespeople who really understand their client need to have a competitive edge. How well they question determines how strong the competitive edge is. When questions are structured well ,they are powerful.

Questions give the data to position products and services to meet the client’s needs. When good questions are asked, salespeople demonstrate a commitment to meeting the client’s needs.

Salespeople who can ask questions in a way that encourages a client to open up have a competitive edge. Knowing how to get clients to talk about their needs in-depth is critical in sales. Prefacing is a skill that can help you do that.

4. Relating

The advanced selling skill of relating refers to the manner in which sales professionals interact with a client to make personal and business connections. Although most salespeople feel that they are already strong at relating, it is one of the toughest skills to truly master, and strong relating skills can help differentiate someone from competitors.

5. Presence

A strong presence is an essential critical selling skill because it can give credibility to, or undermine any message a salesperson wants to convey. In many ways, it may be the most important skill because if there is a disconnect between what the salesperson’s presence conveys and what they say, credibility with the client will be lost.

Critical Selling Skills in Action: Richardson’s Accelerate Platform teaches sellers to master professional sales skills using short, video-based learning scenarios. The video below demonstrates the impact a sales professional’s presence has on the success of a sales call.

6. Checking

The critical selling skill checking is asking open-ended questions to prompt feedback from the client on what the salesperson has just said. By checking for client agreement and understanding key times, sales professionals can keep the dialogue on track and interactive.

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In this video, Richardson CMO Andrea Grodnitzky discusses the importance of honing dialogue in relation to Richardson's Six Critical Selling Skills.