Following research by LinkedIn there are 50,000 professional skills in the world! Which brings us to the question: if you would have the time to learn 1 skill a week, which one would you pick? Which professional skill would bring yourself, your boss and the company further? Which are the skills that will help you better serve your clients?
When in sales, we all have been taught to ‘ask questions’. More questions. Open questions, closed questions, bringing you to the situation where clients agree with your proposal. Different techniques and TLA’s (three letter acronyms) have brought you success in closing deals. Really?? Honestly, since years I don’t believe in asking questions.
The only skill you have to use and to which we all have access since the day we were born is curiosity. Which brings me to the first and most important soft skill that will lead to success:
When we were young, curiosity was our first primary learning tool. By growing older, we have forgotten to use our curiosity. A similar situation typically happened in your mum’s kitchen, you being 5 years old, standing next to your mum. Mum is cooking dinner after her stressfull day at work. You are looking up to her, next to the stove and asked her for the 100th time: “WHY, mummy?” What happened next is very often not ready to publish here, but from that moment onwards, we have unlearned to use our creativity.
Bring it back! Authentically being curious about your client as you are REALLY interested in your client’s situation. Combine this with your market and your own business knowledge & expertise and you will find – probably with the help of your colleagues – the perfect solution for your customer. The more you know about his challenges, the easier it will be to come to the right conclusion. Just try it , and forget the open/closed questions hint we were thaught before.
Creativity is amongst the most underestimated soft skill you can use in professional life in general and in sales in particular. Be creative in your client interaction and bring your proposals differently to the board meeting table than your competition. Use your creativity in pricing tables and solutions, it will help you to answer to your customer’s challenges. Think wise about how to present your value proposition to your target market and do it differently. Believe me: impact by surprise, it helps.
Train your creativity and use interactive training exercises with your team. My colleague Lucia Soetens is a recommended and certified Lego Serious Play (R) facilitator coaching teams to think solution oriented by using its creativity brain power. It helps you in generating better ideas faster.
Another example is our Business Markers’ Ideation G-R-O-S model (by Ides Ticket). From idea scooping to market execution we explain our customers in an easy to use 5 step process how to successfully introduce new solutions to the market. It helps you to focus on your next growth pillar.
Investing in soft skill trainings will bring your company to success. It is probably the best investment you could do in 2019: without any doubt we are at the start of an interesting era where tasks and jobs are taking over by artificial intelligence and robot driven processing power. It’s a great evolution opening new worlds to solve huge world and corporate challenges. Curiosity and creativity in your company will enable your employees to conceive the solutions of tomorrow. Take this step and keep your competition way behind you.