Sales is a people-centric job and you need a certain set of skills to shine in your sales career. It includes hard skills such as product knowledge, prospecting, pipeline management, etc, and soft skills such as communication, positive mindset, collaboration with the team, etc.
Hard skills in sales can be taught to anyone who joins newly in an organization, whereas soft skills in sales should be developed and nurtured within oneself. Nearly 77% of employers say that soft skills are just as important as hard skills and find it difficult to hire those who lack them. Before we see the list of sales soft skills, let’s discuss the importance of soft skills for sales professionals.
Benefits of Soft Sales Skills
Consider an example, if you are going to buy a product, what will you expect the seller to do? He/she needs to know about the product of course and present it in a way so that you can’t say no. How is that possible?
The salesperson should have an influencing at the same time polite and convincing charisma. In today’s competitive business world, there are N number of products similar to yours. To carve a competitive edge over others, it is crucial that your sales team has to own and hone soft selling skills.
The benefits of having sales soft skills are as follows:
- Soft sales skills build a feeling of trust and transparency with your customer.
- They help in relationship building.
- Improves your proficiency and helps your career growth.
- Influence the decision-making process of customers
- Adds value to you and your brand.
6 Soft Skills Every Salesperson Needs
To have a successful sales career, develop the following skills:
1. Growth Mindset
Psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck was the first to coin the term “Growth Mindset”. She researched the reason behind the success and failures of people. People who believe that their skills and intelligence can be improved over time with their efforts are said to have a growth mindset. On the contrary, those who believe their skills are stagnant are said to have a fixed mindset. In sales, if a salesperson has a growth mindset, he will continue to get as many customers as possible even though he has already achieved his sales quota. Now, can you understand the importance of having a salesperson with a growth mindset?
Impeccable communication is one of the most important soft skills for sales professionals. Connecting with your customers and delivering relatable information is possible only if your sales team has excellent verbal communication skills. If you hone this skill, it will be easy for you to persuade and influence your prospect’s decision-making process. Also, speaking according to the situation matters. Understanding and using suitable words for various scenarios like cold calls, demo presentations, meetings, etc. will help salespeople in the long run.
3. Time Management
Time is precious for all, for salespeople it’s a step higher because their time management skills can save their time, their customer’s time as well as their company’s time. The art of finding the right prospects for your business can save a lot of time for further processes like follow-ups till you close the deal. Field workforce management apps like Lystloc saves your time further by providing task management and meeting notes features that help you to manage your tasks and send updates to the management instantly through mobile. Use them to save your time and energy, and work smarter.
Being flexible here refers to a salesperson’s ability to adapt to the changing business environment. The situation may not be favorable all the time. So, it is important to always have a plan B. If the demo calls or presentations get delayed or canceled, you should be able to adjust the next tasks accordingly and complete the planned tasks for the day effectively. The presence of mind and flexibility to adapt to new technologies and tools by constant upskilling are the need of the hour.
5. Active Listening
In general, we hear a lot but listen a little. Means? If we hear without complete attention, we may miss out on the details. As a salesperson, you have to be an active listener. Listen to what your prospect says carefully, ask if you have doubts, and let them explain their problems. Only then, it will be clear for you to proceed with the next step with them. If there are chances your product may not align with their expectations, then you can stop chasing them and move on to the next one.
Salespeople have to face rejections in their careers. How you handle them is going to determine your strength and progress. Never take them personally. It’s not about you always, instead, there are many reasons a prospect rejects a product/service like budget, timing, etc. It will be tough initially, but self-motivation and determination are your shields to guard you against getting stressed.
Unlike hard skills, soft sales skills can be developed over time by practice, as they cannot be taught. Apart from the above-mentioned ones, there are many more soft skills like optimism, empathy, emotional intelligence, body language, etc that every salesperson needs to succeed. Combining technical knowledge with soft skills, one can have a successful career in any field. Check your sales team periodically and identify the skill gaps and organize training sessions for their personal as well as professional growth.