Six Skills That Are Essential To The Modern Salesperson

We all know the stereotype of salesperson can be pushy–they’re aggressive and flexible about the truth, talk a lot and only have one agenda: to sell you, regardless of your needs and requirements.

But with that description, it can be admittedly, a bit cliche (and probably has never had one part particularly true for a good salespeople anywhere). But we’ve all see and met at least one of them in our lives.  And while they’re one dimensional method has been plain annoying in the past, there are six key skills to being a great modern salesperson.

The world has fundamentally changed. Whacking customers over the head won’t work anymore. Today, information is readily available and customers are more demanding than ever.  They do their own research before connecting with you, which makes them aware of the options.

These new information dynamics are much more subtle sales skills, and a new type of sales personality: specifically not someone who is simply an expert at selling. But a person who can draw on their complex knowledge to help solve a prospect’s specific problem. Here are some good sales skills, techniques and personality traits that are indispensable to a good connected salesperson today:


It start by knowing what you’re talking about. Prospects today are sometimes better informed than even the salespeople themselves. Sales conversations start much later in the information gather process than they used to — by the time the customers talk to a sales person, they are already overwhelmed with information.  Instead of a hawker, they need someone who is an intelligent adviser who helps them filter the clutter of information they’re faced with.


You need to know your market and your prospects ‘pain points’ as well as know your own product. You’ll only be as good as you are if you have a genuine interest in developing this knowledge. Modern sales skills demand spending more time researching prospects and learning the market than other traditional sales techniques.

Emotional Intelligence

Even with it being “the age of social” — that doesn’t just stop with social networks, but also a social skill-set.  If the salesperson of the past was a talker, the modern one is a listener who is sensitive to customers needs and preferences. Good modern salespeople spend a good deal of time researching prospects on social networks. They look to see what people are talking about, where they can insert themselves to know who to be talking to and who might be interested in their product.  The pushy salesperson’s attentiveness is, at best, cosmetic. A great salesperson ‘s interest in sincere, and customers appreciate the effort, even if you get it slightly wrong.


A salesperson always had had to be confident — but there is a difference between a confidence that is fueled by ego and one that is fueled by facts and research.  Today’s informed 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.


The best way to learn what moves prospects is by talking to people who know — other salespeople.  Where “the lone wolves” of the past have their own secret pitch, the most successful salespeople today are great collaborators.

A Knack For A Narrative

Both in sales and marketing, storytelling is a very powerful tool to engage with people. Experienced salespeople are an incredibly rich source of real-life anecdotes that can demonstrates 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 instantly practiced these things, but it’s the connectedness and information saturation of today’s world that makes these “renaissance’ selling skills imperative today.