Lately, people have been focusing on hard skills. That’s great because it’s something tangible that you can measure. But at the same time everyone has been overlooking a special talent, soft skills. No it’s not something that can be measured, but in sales it makes the difference between hitting quota and losing your job.
How many of you have seen the movie, The Internship? The one where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson try to get an internship with Google after they lose their jobs.
It is a great example of why soft skills are invaluable.
It starts out with them listening to music to get pumped for a sales meeting. They recite all the information they know about their prospect. They know he’s a family man and loves his daughter who does gymnastics. Obviously, they’ve done their research.
During dinner, they ask their prospect questions about his daughter and make him laugh all the while stroking his ego. This is the art of building rapport.
Fast forward to their introduction at Google. Every one is to be on a team and work together on a series of challenges to compete for full time positions. One of the trainers says “this is a place of community and collaboration.”
Most ignore and focus on their ability to code and create apps. But Vince and Owen befriend people regardless of their status and collaborate with them as team.
The last challenge their team must complete is a sales challenge.
The younger people on their team spent their life focusing on hard skills that they didn’t know how to properly sell. They awkwardly throw facts at their prospects (pizzeria owners) and focus only on features. Vince and Owen came in asking questions to uncover why their prospect is passionate about the pizza they make. Once they uncovered the passion, they asked questions to uncover the pain points of what is holding back the pizza owner from expanding.
To make a long story short, they were successful because Vince and Owen used their ability to connect to their prospect to help them envision what their store could be, and the benefits instead of features.
It’s true some things can’t be measured but are invaluable to sales. Every salesperson should master these skills.
Building rapport | Asking questions | Empathy