Do your salespeople have these six essential skills?

Today’s sales environment requires salespeople who can draw on more than just knowledge of facts and features to solve a prospect’s problem. Here are six skills, techniques, and traits that are indispensable…


This should come as no surprise: know what you’re talking about! Often, prospects are better informed than salespeople. Sales conversations start much later in the information-gathering process. By the time a customer talks to a salesperson, they’re already filled with information and prefer someone who’s an intelligent advisor who helps them filter the clutter of information they’re faced with.


To gain expertise, get to know your market and your prospects ‘pain points’ as well as your own product. In fact, you’ll only be as good as your genuine interest in developing this knowledge. This demands spending more time researching prospects and learning the market than other traditional sales techniques.

Emotional intelligence

Being social-savvy doesn’t stop with social networks, but includes a social skillset.  If the salesperson of the past was a talker, today’s salesperson is a listener who’s sensitive to customers’ needs and preferences. Spend time researching prospects on social networks—find what they’re talking about, who to talk to, and who might be interested in their product.


There’s a difference between a confidence that’s fueled by ego, and one that’s fueled by facts and research. Buyers don’t want to be sold—if they sense empty rhetoric, they’ll put up their defenses. Solid facts and personal relevance will earn their respect.

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The best way to learn what moves prospects is by talking to other salespeople.  Instead of being a lone-wolf having a “secret pitch,” the most successful salespeople are great collaborators.

A knack for narrative

Storytelling is a very powerful tool for engaging with people. Experienced salespeople are an incredibly rich source of real-life anecdotes that can demonstrate use cases, issues, and possible complications.

No two sales conversations are the same, and the ability to draw upon experience and selectively present relevant stories can be highly motivating and help establish a real connection with prospects.

Great salespeople have always instinctively practiced these things, but it’s the connectedness and information saturation of today’s world that makes these six selling skills imperative today.