6 Top Soft Skills to Develop for a Career in Sales

3 Minutes

Skills are usually defined in one of two ways: hard or soft skills. You'll need both to have...

Skills are usually defined in one of two ways: hard or soft skills. You'll need both to have a successful, long-term career in sales. Hard skills are essential, more technical skills that allow you to carry out your job responsibilities to a high standard, while soft skills are personal traits that may be innate or learned that influence how you do your job. Within this article, we delve into what soft skills are and the six top soft skills you can develop to enhance your career in sales. 

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are the transferable skills you can take to any role at any level. These interpersonal people skills allow you to fit in with your work colleagues and establish and build long-term relationships with the clients and customers you interact with. From your personality traits, attitude, work ethic, time management skills, and more, when it comes to selling, your soft skills can be the difference between making a successful sale and failing to make a sale. 

You'll often see required soft skills listed on a job spec. These are included because employers see soft skills as a critical indicator of someone's potential. For example, a candidate may have all the 'hard' technical skills to be an excellent salesperson, but without the soft skills to match, you will struggle to make an impression on your employer, colleagues, and clients.   

We will explore these top six soft skills:

  • Confidence Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Resilience Skills
  • Adaptability Skills
  • Teamwork Skills
  • Leadership Skills

1. Confidence Skills

Although you might see confidence as something you either have or don't, it can be developed just like any other skill. Confidence is one of the most important skills to have in the world of sales. To convince customers and close deals, you need to fully believe in the product or service on offer and your ability to sell it. 

You'll need to remain confident in your ability when faced with a string of rejections. But, inversely, in times of success, it's essential to avoid becoming arrogant in your approach, as this will filter through to your clients and potentially put them off.

Having confidence is essential to ensure your sales career progresses and that you establish long-term relationships with the clients and colleagues you work with. Confident people give off the correct body language and have the communication and people skills to sell effectively. Ultimately, someone who lacks confidence will struggle to reach their potential in sales unless they discover ways to build confidence.

2. Communication Skills

Like confidence, the ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill for any sales-related role. Forms of communication include written communication and verbal communication, and simply being knowledgeable about your product or service isn't enough. You need to convey why your customers must purchase what you're selling in ways they can digest and understand. 

Successful interactions with your customers stem from good communication skills and the ability to ensure you listen to them. By actively listening to your customers, you stand a far better chance of being able to understand and then deliver on what they want. More often than not, potential prospects will reveal their pain points, and you can uncover them by listening. 

Good communication in the workplace will also allow you to support your team members, which is essential if you rise through the ranks and hold a more influential position within the company.

3. Resilience Skills

Being rejected never results in a nice feeling. However, it's something that you'll need to become accustomed to having a long career in sales. If you don't consider yourself to be the most resilient person, then, fortunately, resilience is something that can be improved.

4. Adaptability Skills

Instead of framing rejections as pure failure, seeing each setback as an opportunity to learn can be helpful. Be consistent in improving and maintaining the belief that your persistence will pay off on the next call. In the end, you'll build resistance to rejection, learn why you are being rejected, and develop into a better salesperson overall.

As market trends are constantly shifting, salespeople need to be adaptable. By showing adaptability as a salesperson, you'll be able to handle the different needs of each customer and move alongside the developments in your company's sales process and strategy. 

Adaptability in the workplace can be learned by listening to feedback from your manager and putting it into action. Additionally, you can personally reflect on what went well and discover areas to improve. Taking every encounter, good or bad, as a learning experience will help you improve exponentially. By becoming more adaptable and working on your other soft skills, you'll be well on your way to a high-flying sales career.

5. Teamwork Skills

From working closely with other sales reps and senior salespeople, working on various sales assignments, attending internal and external meetings to negotiating deals with customers and clients, working in a team is fundamental to any job, ever-more so in sales. 

Salespeople must work effectively and efficiently with everyone they interact with, whether or not they don't see eye-to-eye. Additionally, excellent teamwork skills are essential for appreciating diversity and accepting critical feedback from those within and outside the workplace. Therefore, being renowned as a good team player is a trait every salesperson should strive to achieve as they develop their career in sales.

6. Leadership Skills

Whether you are leading your sales department, striving to become a sales leader, or just starting your sales journey, it's important to recognize the value of leadership skills. Although you don't necessarily need to have the word 'leadership' in your job title to be a leader, these are soft skills you may already have or will continue to build. 

Leadership skills can refer to how capable you are with training or mentoring an individual to your ability to show initiative, work under pressure, and problem solve. Salespeople who intrinsically have or quickly adopt leadership skills will be seen to have more management and senior potential by employers. 

Ultimately, those with leadership qualities will see themselves will be presented with more growth opportunities and the chance to step into more senior sales roles. At Pareto, we specialize in nurturing college graduates into successful leaders within the sales industry.  

We empower top talent within the sales industry through our award-winning courses. Our offering provides college graduates and motivated individuals the opportunity to learn and develop the soft skills to advance their careers in sales. If you are interested in improving your soft skills or an employer seeking to help your salespeople reach their maximum potential, we can help. Get in touch to discover more today. 

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