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Essential Skills for Sales

That’s why I’ve put together a list of essential sales skills you’ll need to be highly effective.

There are plenty of crucial sales skills you need to have to be a successful and effective salesperson.  But beyond knowing how to use Excel or a CRM, being a great salesperson means you’re in tune with your soft sales skills just as much as your technical sales skills.

Relationship-building

The ability to positively engage other people, build long-term relationships, and form mutually beneficial networks will find frequent use in any salesperson’s workflow.

From meeting clients and gathering referrals, to soliciting advice, and achieving team objectives, relationship-building skills enable a salesperson to accomplish tasks easier and make better-informed decisions. 

Relationship-building involves trust, rapport, and a genuine desire to help other people. Relationship-building leads to relationship selling, so don’t think it’s just a bunch of fluff. This creates opportunities if you play your cards right!

Adaptability

When a salesperson is good at listening to and implementing feedback, their name typically skyrockets to the top of the leaderboard and stays there. After all, they’re combining the strengths of a great rep with the insights, wisdom, and experience of their manager. That’s a winning combo.

Time Management

While selling involves money, something a lot more precious gets exchanged and utilized along the way — time. Your prospect’s time is important. So is yours. 

A salesperson’s ability to optimize time improves productivity and cost efficiency, creating the environment needed for high performance. This soft skill coupled with software automation, analytics and other technologies delivers significant ROI for any business.

Storytelling

Selling not only requires showing the features of your product but also convincing customers that these features will solve their problems or will benefit them in some significant way. In most cases, you need to articulate your message by telling a story that deeply resonates with your target audience. 

Great storytelling skills will see you quickly move up in the world of sales.

Research/Information Gathering

Accurate information about prospects, market trends, rival solutions and other business intelligence enables a salesperson to make better decisions, engage the right prospects better, and close higher value deals while shortening the sales cycle. 

Your CRM, competitive analysis tools, rival websites, and social media are great places where you can start your research.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

Having an ocean of data won’t be enough to get you anywhere. You need critical thinking skills to process information, analyze disparate data, and sift through the heap for relevant bits of information that will help you formulate solutions for problems your prospects are experiencing.

Technology Forward

Tomorrow’s sales professionals must at least be comfortable around digital devices. This makes it easier to adapt to emerging technological advances in AI, big data, and other fields that will transform the way organizations run, and the way brands engage audiences.

Communication

Between talking on the phone, sending emails, giving demos, and speaking in meetings, most sales reps spend at least 90% of their day communicating. Having solid communication skills is essential. You must be able to clearly and persuasively get your ideas across — without going off on tangents or using buzzwords and meaningless phrases.

You should also keep your audience in mind at all times. If you speak the same way to your sales manager as to your prospects, something’s wrong: After all, they have vastly different goals, desires, and background information.

In Summary

To be successful in the world of sales you need to have more skills than the obvious product knowledge and knowledge of how to follow a sales process.  The 8 soft skills above will help you become a more successful salesperson.  Used consistently you turn more prospects into customers and more customers into repeat customers.

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