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10 Soft skills your sales team should know

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October 10, 2023

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10 Soft skills your sales team should know

In the fast-paced world of sales, success is based not only on product knowledge and technique but also on the often underestimated power of sales soft skills. These essential skills are the secret to turning a good sales team into a great one.

From effective communication that captivates customers to active listening that uncovers their deepest needs, these soft skills are the key to building trust, forging lasting relationships, and sealing the deal.

In this article, we'll unveil the top 10 soft skills your sales team needs and delve into how mastering these skills can supercharge your team's performance, leaving a trail of satisfied customers and soaring sales figures in its wake.

What are sales soft skills?

Sales soft skills are the people-focused abilities that make a salesperson not just a seller, but a trusted advisor. These skills include effective communication, active listening, empathy, problem-solving, negotiation, and adaptability.

Soft skills help sales professionals connect with customers on a personal level, understand their needs, overcome objections, and ultimately, close deals. They transform a product pitch into a compelling and customer-centric experience, leading to happier clients and more successful sales teams.

What’s the difference between hard vs. soft skills for sales?

Hard skills in sales are technical abilities like product knowledge, sales software proficiency, and data analysis. They're crucial for understanding your product and industry.

Sales soft skills, on the other hand, are people skills like communication, empathy, and negotiation. They're all about connecting with customers, understanding their needs, and building trust.

While hard skills give you the knowledge, soft skills help you apply that knowledge effectively, creating better relationships and boosting sales. In short, hard skills are what you know, and soft skills are how you use that knowledge to win over customers and close deals.

Sales Soft Skill # 1 - Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills are a vital soft skill in sales, as they determine how well your team can find common ground, handle objections, and secure mutually beneficial deals.

sales soft skills - negotiation skills

To sharpen your team’s negotiation skills, they can research your customer's needs and pain points thoroughly. This helps them be well-prepared for negotiation. Your team members should also be active listeners, paying close attention to customer concerns and priorities.

They should practice patience and avoid rushing the customer’s decision. Instead, they can ask questions to know their interests and explore creative solutions.

They must maintain a confident and respectful demeanor throughout the negotiation process, and aim for a win-win outcome where both parties feel satisfied. Regular practice and seeking feedback from experienced negotiators can also help your team refine their skills over time.

SC Training (formerly EdApp) can be a game-changer for your sales team's soft skills training. With its user-friendly and interactive platform, SC Training (formerly EdApp) offers customized training modules that focus on each of the essential skills, from communication and active listening to resilience and cultural sensitivity.

sales soft skills - edapp reporting and analytics

These modules include engaging simulations, quizzes, and real-life scenarios that mimic sales situations, allowing your team to practice and improve their skills in a risk-free environment.

SC Training (formerly EdApp) also has progress tracking and analytics, so you can monitor each team member's growth and tailor their training accordingly.

Sign up to SC Training (formerly EdApp) for free and empower your salesforce with the tools they need to thrive in today's competitive market!

Sales Soft Skill # 2 - Active Listening

Active listening involves not just hearing but truly understanding your customer's needs and concerns. Your sales team can practice active listening by giving their full attention to the customer, maintaining eye contact, and avoiding distractions.

sales soft skills - active listening

They can show empathy by acknowledging the customer’s feelings and asking open-ended questions to learn more about their needs. They can also ask the customer to repeat and clarify what they say to ensure that they’ve accurately understood the problem.

Taking notes during the conversation will also help your team members remember key details that can be used to tailor their pitch. By practicing active listening, your team can build trust and show customers that they genuinely care, increasing their chances of making successful sales.

Sales Soft Skill # 3 - Patience

Patience is a valuable soft skill in sales, especially when dealing with complex sales cycles or hesitant customers. Patience is practiced by setting realistic expectations and understanding that not all sales happen quickly.

sales soft skills - patience

When faced with objections or resistance, your sales team can ask questions to uncover the underlying reasons for the customer’s hesitation so they can address the concerns thoughtfully. This allows them to focus on building a long-term relationship rather than pushing for an immediate sale.

Patience definitely pays off, as some customers need time to make decisions or build trust before committing. When your sales team practices patience, they demonstrate commitment to the customer's needs and create a more comfortable environment for them to make a decision in favor of your business.

Sales Soft Skill # 4 - Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is one of the best soft skills in sales. It helps your team navigate challenges and objections effectively. To improve their problem-solving skills, your team must embrace a proactive mindset, anticipating potential roadblocks, and having solutions ready.

sales soft skills - problem solving

They should also expand their product knowledge and industry expertise to offer well-informed suggestions. Collaborating with colleagues, brainstorming ideas, and seeking feedback also help refine their problem-solving approach.

Practice makes perfect, so the more they encounter and solve different sales challenges, the more adept your team will become at finding creative solutions that meet your customers' needs.

Sales Soft Skill # 5 - Confidence

Among other salesperson skills, confidence greatly influences a customer's trust in your product. To boost your team’s confidence, they should know every detail about your product and its value. It also helps to practice their sales pitch and objection-handling techniques so they always feel well-prepared.

sales soft skills - confidence

Visualizing successful interactions with customers also increases your team’s confidence. They can also try maintaining a friendly body language and enthusiastic demeanor to bring an air of positivity around sales conversations.

It's also helpful to seek feedback from mentors or colleagues to identify areas for improvement. As your sales team gains experience and builds a track record of successful sales, their confidence will naturally grow.

Sales Soft Skill # 6 - Resilience and Persistence

Resilience and persistence are like a one-two punch that can make all the difference in sales. For your team to stay resilient, they must focus on maintaining a positive attitude and not letting rejection or setbacks deter them. Instead, they can view them as opportunities to learn and grow.

sales soft skills - resilience and persistence

They can also keep their motivation high by setting achievable goals and rewarding themselves for small victories. They can also practice persistence by consistently following up with leads, even if they don't get an immediate "yes." It is important to follow up with potential clients and customers on a personal level, and one way to do this is to exchange physical or electronic business cards.

Your sales team can also seek support from mentors or colleagues when things get tough. Remind them that the road to success often has its bumps, but those who keep pushing forward are the ones who ultimately come out on top.

Sales Soft Skill # 7 - Organizational Skills

Organizational skills lay out the roadmap to success in sales. This means that your team should have a systematic approach to managing your leads and contacts. They can use digital tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software to track interactions, set reminders, and stay organized.

sales soft skills - organizational skills

They must also develop a consistent routine for prospecting, follow-ups, and administrative tasks. Prioritizing tasks, focusing on high-value activities, and regularly updating sales processes all improve efficiency and effectiveness.

By honing this soft skill in the workplace, they’ll become more productive and provide a smoother experience for your customers, increasing their chances of closing deals and achieving sales success.

Sales Soft Skill # 8 - Teamwork

Teamwork is vital in sales because success often depends on collaboration with colleagues from different departments. To enhance teamwork, your sales team should communicate openly and effectively with each other, sharing information and insights that can benefit everyone.

sales soft skills - teamwork

They should be eager to support and assist their colleagues and celebrate collective achievements. They can also seek opportunities for cross-functional training to better understand the roles and challenges of their teammates.

Strengthening teamwork creates a more harmonious work environment and unlocks the potential for more comprehensive and successful sales strategies. Soft skills sales training can also help improve teamwork.

Sales Soft Skill # 9 - Ethical Integrity

Ethical integrity is the bedrock of trust in sales, and it's something you can't afford to compromise. Honesty and transparency should always be prioritized in customer interactions.

sales soft skills - ethical integrity

Make sure that your sales team isn’t making false claims or promises about your product or service, and never engage in deceptive practices. Empower your team to act with integrity even when faced with difficult decisions or pressures to meet targets.

Seek guidance from your organization's code of ethics and consult with mentors or ethical experts when facing ethical dilemmas. Remember, a reputation for ethical integrity not only builds trust with customers but also leads to your company’s long-term success and credibility in your chosen industry.

Sales Soft Skill # 10 - Cultural Sensitivity

Your team’s cultural sensitivity can be improved by educating them about different cultures, customs, and communication styles. This way, they can actively listen and adapt their approach to respect and accommodate the customers' cultural preferences and sensitivities.

sales soft skills - cultural sensitivity

They must avoid making assumptions or stereotyping based on cultural backgrounds. They should be open to learning from their customers and colleagues from diverse backgrounds, and don't hesitate to ask for guidance or clarification when uncertain.

Cultural sensitivity builds stronger relationships with a wide range of customers and demonstrates your company’s respect for diversity. This is a powerful and worthwhile asset in today's global marketplace.

Author

Donna Dane

Donna is an elearning content writer for SC Training (formerly EdApp), a mobile-based microlearning platform designed for today's digital training needs. When she's not writing web articles, she writes lines of code or songs or anything food-related.

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