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12+ Most Desirable Sales Skills and Sales Traits

Are you a sales professional who is looking to up their game?

Perhaps you want to go from the middle of the sales leader board to crushing your quota and sitting pretty at the top of it?

Maybe you want to become more effective at selling, so you can get the same result you have right now, but by working fewer hours each week to achieve it?

To achieve these things, you need to improve your sales skills. Right?

But where do you start?

And how many more questions can I uncomfortably fit into this intro?

Well in this video I’m going to outline the 12 most important traits you need to develop to become amazing at selling.

Let’s jump into it…

Three Categories

To make this list of the 12 most desirable sales skills more manageable, lets split it into 3 categories –

  • Hard skills – Formal or technical, non-selling skills that are learned on training courses, seminars, or from workplace training.
  • Soft skills – Informal abilities that are learned over a person’s lifetime.
  • Sales specific skills – Learnt skills specific to a sales job.   

Let’s get started by looking at the hard skills you need to learn to have success in sales.

HARD: #1 Business Communication

The first hard skill you need to learn is the skill of “business communication”. People are not born with a natural ability to communicate in a way that is effective and appropriate in a business environment.

Effective business communication is something that you have to learn.

Business communication is important for salespeople because to have success in sales you must learn the best practices in making sales calls, presentations, and pitches.

Additionally, you should learn how to communicate effectively with your writing for proposals, referral requests and emails.

HARD: #2 Product Knowledge

If you are not more knowledgeable about your product and marketplace, you’ll never make a sale.

When are known as a subject matter expert in your market, you will be trusted among your buyers.

In our Salesman.org sales success program, we teach sales professionals who to become a “micro-influencer” and it’s the single most important skill to learn right now in B2B sales.

HARD: #3 Sales Presentations

Whilst you might have presented your thoughts on a subject at university or school to your peers, a sales presentation is a completely different beast.

Unlike at school, your buyers will tell you if your presentation was not effective by voting with their cash.

If you want to improve your presentation skills I highly recommend Nancy Duarte’s books and you should start with “slide:ology”.

HARD #4: Sales Stack Fluency

Your “sales stack” is the technology that you use the prospect, educate, and then close buyers. A few years ago this would be a pen and paper and a phone but now there are countless software solutions for every single part of your sales process.

The average individual salesperson doesn’t have much say in the software they have to use each day but it’s important that they are trained on each of these products so that they can use them effectively and efficiently.

Next let’s take a look at the soft skills salespeople need to develop to crush sales quotas.

SOFT: #5 Relationship Building

The more senior you are in your sales career and the bigger the deals you trying to close, the more important relationship-building becomes.

Now let me make this clear, buyers will not purchase from you because they like you. The days of taking buyers to the golf course, doing some wining and dining and then winning a huge contract are over.

But the ability to build trust, rapport and genuine desire in people will create opportunities for you as a sales professional.

SOFT: #6 Storytelling

If selling did not require storytelling, it could be done by online videos and PDF documents alone.

Fortunately for us, storytelling is the best way to communicate a sales message.

Developing my storytelling skills is something that I’m still working on. If you have any books or resources you recommend, leave a comment below this video.  

SOFT: #7 Problem-solving

In your quest to get deals done you’re going to have to solve problems for your buyers. A lot of the time they can’t help you as if they could, they would have already helped themselves.

So salespeople need to have the skill of critical thinking and problem-solving.

If you can solve a bigger problem, more interestingly for your buyers than the competition, then you’ll win the buyers’ business every time.

And make sure to click subscribe because we’ve some epic content on problem solving for sales professionals coming up soon (SUBSCRIBE).

SOFT: #8 Emotional Intelligence

The last one for the soft skills, we have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is both the ability to read the emotions of other people and to regulate your emotional state.

You need to be able to read other people’s emotions so that you can pace your sales conversations and asks in a way that you’re more likely to get a positive response. And if you can’t control your own emotions when you’re selling, you’re always going to be at the whim of the environment you’re in.

To wrap things up let’s run through the final “sales specific skills” you need to develop if you’re going to have incredible success in your sales role.

SALES: #9 Prospecting

If the company you work for has done a good job in building a product that the market wants, you start to add value to the organization by being able to capture the information of individuals who are interested in making a purchase.

Prospecting enables you to fill your sales pipeline and it’s the selling process starts at this point.

SALES: #10 Qualification

Once the pipeline is filled the next sales-specific skill that all high performers have is the ability to qualify their potential buyers.

Qualifying your customers requires you to have a qualification framework. BANT is a qualification framework that’s often used in B2B sales –

BANT: budget, authority, need, time-frame

The sales skill of qualifying potential buyers allows you to narrow your focus and only spend time with individuals who are likely to make a purchase. This makes you a much more effective sales professional.

SALES: #11 Negotiation

Once you’ve captured information of qualified potential buyers and you’ve nurtured and educated them a little, the next step is to negotiate a deal.

We have covered negotiation a bunch of times on The Salesman Podcast and so I will link to a few of these episodes in the comments below this video.

The ability to negotiate is a crucial skill in selling services because you’re not shipping a physical product to the buyer. Because there is no physical product, price and value are subjective and buyers will try and debate their worth.

The sales skill of negotiation will enable you to balance out price and value and get the deal agreed.

SALES: #12 Closing

The last skill the salespeople need to learn to become highly effective in their jobs is the art of closing the sale. Over at Salesman.org we teach our closing 3.0 methodology which helps you close sales with no chance of rejection.

To close a sale without any risk of being rejected, all you have to say –

“Does it make sense to move forward with this?“

That’s not very scary is it?

It’s pretty simple right?

If the buyer says “yes” then congratulations you’ve closed the sale. If the buyer says “no” then all you have to say in return is –

“What do we need to do before we can move this forward?”

These two questions are all you need to close sales in the modern B2B environment.

That is the cliff-notes of the Closing 3.0 methodology that we teach over at Salesman.org.  

So there we have it, the 12 the most desirable sales skills and sales traits that you need to have success in B2B sales.