Soft skills in sales have never been more important. The role of the sales professional is evolving at an incredible pace. The rise of digital platforms for online selling, and the internet for product research means today’s customers rarely need sales professionals to answer questions about technical features anymore.
Instead, they interact with sales teams to learn more about the solutions best suited to their needs and determine whether they can trust the brand they’re working with. That’s why it’s so important for sales teams to have the right soft skills.
Soft skills in sales refer to the non-technical talents your employees have which help them in achieving their professional goals. While technical skills in sales might include being able to use a CRM tool or sending prospecting emails, soft skills are focused more on building relationships and deeper connections with an audience.
The right soft skills ensure salespeople can encourage productive conversations with prospects, deliver a fantastic customer experience, and create the rapport required to boost transactions. They help salespeople to relate to and communicate with others while ensuring they can achieve their full potential in their sales role.
Prioritizing soft skills for sales professionals is crucial because a lot of the work a sales expert will do is based on their non-technical abilities. Soft skills encompass everything from communication to adaptability and empathy – all critical factors in ensuring conversions and building relationships with customers. Without these skills, your sales team will struggle to reach its targets.
When it comes to defining soft skills for sales professionals, there are a number of potential areas to consider. While the exact skills your team needs may differ, some of the most desirable soft skills in sales often include:
A salesperson should be agile and able to adapt to the needs of a customer at any given time. An adaptable professional will be able to listen to the needs, expectations, and pain points of their prospect, and adjust their pitch accordingly.
Sales professionals need empathy. They should be able to understand how their customers feel, and know how to relate to those clients on a regular basis. Empathy will help your sales professionals to be more engaging when talking to customers, and should improve their chances of sales.
From speaking to clients on the phone, to sending emails, speaking in meetings, and giving demonstrations, sales professionals spend the majority of their time communicating. Knowing how to communicate complex ideas in a simple way, and connect with people using the right terms is essential.
Sales professionals also need to be able to convince a customer to share their perspective or opinion on things. This means they need to be excellent at persuasion. They should be able to use case studies, references, and anecdotes to make themselves more convincing, and improve their credibility during sales discussions.
Reps who can recognize the right time and place to show humility in sales are more likely to knock deals out of the park. People don’t generally buy products from faceless organizations – they look for people they can build human connections with. Showing vulnerability and a humble nature to prospects can make sales professionals more appealing.
Emotional intelligence makes sales professionals more powerful in their roles. It ensures they can build relationships with other people by recognizing their feelings, and responding accordingly. Having a good level of emotional intelligence will ensure your sales professionals can be influential, confident, and convincing.
Sales pitches and strategies don’t always go according to plan. Because of this, sales professionals need to be able to pick themselves back up and recover from rejections. A good level of grit and resilience will ensure sales professionals can handle the tougher parts of making a sale.
Most sales professionals develop their soft skills over time, through regular interactions with customers and practice. The most desirable soft skills in sales often require significant emotional investment from your professionals, as well as a little training.
Some of the best ways to develop soft skills for sales professionals include: