As a salesperson, it’s pretty standard to get into work, pick up the phone, and start making daily sales calls. But that’s probably the most challenging part of the job. After all, 63% of salespeople say that cold calls are the worst part of the job. And that number isn’t all that surprising, considering cold calls have a 2% success rate.
But what separates your ordinary salesperson from the 2%?
Well, it’s simple: soft skills.
It’s no secret that soft skills are essential for salespeople. In fact, soft skills are some of the most in-demand aspects required for the job. So, If you’re looking to improve your sales and build better relationships, developing your soft skills is essential.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft, or interpersonal, skills are the attributes you use to establish relationships. For example, knowing when to pause to let someone have their say or modulating your tone to convey emotions are instances of soft skills at work.
And soft skills aren’t limited to making friends and meeting new acquaintances. No, they’re actually crucial for your work-life as well. In fact, a study by LinkedIn shows that interpersonal skills are some of the most sought-after attributes employers look for in job-seekers.
With the world shifting towards a knowledge-based economy, soft skills are proving to be more critical than ever. These days, agility is the name of the game. The ability to work well with others and clearly convey messages are just some of the skills employers look for.
So what are some essential soft skills for a salesperson?
The Most-Wanted Soft Skills for Salespeople in 2022
If you’re looking to get hired as a salesperson right now, what’s the most important thing you can do to stand out from the crowd? Have incredible close rates? Be a prolific lead generator? Know your product inside and out?
Sure, it’s essential to know these things, but that’s not enough to set yourself apart. Even new employees on their first day are expected to have these qualities. But, even your ordinary door-to-door salesman should know these things.
An expert salesperson, though? Soft skills are the key to your success.
As mentioned earlier, soft skills are now expected qualities for employees. So, here are some soft skills that can up your sales game.
It’s not just artists who need a splash of creativity for their careers. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
A creative mind can open many salespeople. For instance, a sales pitch is all about creativity. You need to convince potential investors to buy your product; a creative pitch can go miles toward a potential sale. After all, investors hear about products day in and day out. So you need to set yourself apart to land a deal.
Think Shark Tank and Bombas. They’re just your garden variety socks, but they’re one of the most successful pitches from the show, with nearly $230 million in lifetime sales. That’s because they stood out. They weren’t just selling socks. They were selling socks with a difference and appealed to investors who wanted to support socially conscious brands.
All in all, creativity comes in many forms, like:
Add to that, you can train your creativity through ways like:
- Collaboration – Learning from others can lead to a new perspective.
- Unplug – Time away from work can help your creative juices flow.
- Take risks – They say the best ideas can come from the most unexpected places. Come up with wild ideas, and who knows…maybe something will stick.
Creativity is one of the essential soft skills that can buff up your career in sales.
Persuasion goes hand in hand with creativity. Case in point, even the most innovative pitches won’t catch fire if the sales team can’t persuade investors. It’s the capacity to convince your partner to agree with you. But, when it comes to sales, it’s all about the ability to get your investor to buy your product.
All in all, there are 6 elements you need to consider when training your persuasion skills:
- Reciprocity – The give and take exchange between you and your partner.
- Scarcity – Using the aspect of FOMO (the fear of missing out) as a bargaining chip to convince another.
- Authority – The ability to sell an idea based on expert knowledge. For instance, the classic pitch of 9/10 dentists approves of X toothpaste.
- Consistency/Commitment – People tend to repeat previous behaviours. So it’s not challenging to convince old customers to make another purchase.
- Social Proof – You can think of this element as peer pressure. When people see relatives and friends prefer a product, they’re also likely to purchase the same product.
- Like – Simply put, if your customer like you, it’s easier to get them to buy what you’re selling.
You can improve your persuasion skills through means like:
- Credibility – Build your knowledge base, know your customers, your product, and your competition.
- Address the “Why” – You need to know and hammer in your products’ USP (unique selling point). Answer “why” investors should buy into what you’re selling.
- Build trust – Building bridges gets you sales, so work on getting people to like you and trust you.
Now, as much as you might be creative and persuasive, things don’t always go as you intend them too. And that’s where the third key skill comes into play.
Some of the best salespeople know how to roll with the punches. Adjusting to the ups and downs of business can help you learn a thing or 2 about the intricacies of sales. Your team can change, and you might sell a new product. In business, change is constant.
So the ability to adjust can get you the sales that otherwise might fall through.
Take Apple, for instance. In the past, they were just your 2nd-rate computer company behind giants like Dell. But thanks to innovations like the iPhone and their witty “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns, they’re the tech giants they are today.
Some skills that tie into adaptability include:
- Capacity to analyze
You can script a conversation as much as you like, but it’s never going to go as planned. And the best salespeople know how to navigate that and still land the sales in the end.
Build Your Soft Skills to Up Your Sales Game!
The difference between a regular joe salesman from a sales topper might be a mystery. After all, they’re selling the same products. They know the same things, but what sets them apart?
The secret to success is soft skills.
If you build on your soft skill, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a top salesperson and being highly in-demand amongst recruiters. That’s because, ultimately, soft skills are the key to success in sales. By developing them, you’ll be able to build better relationships, close more deals, and reach your full potential as a sales professional.