You can’t be a skilled, well-rounded sales professional without adopting the soft skills necessary to improve the way you work.
Soft skills are non-technical skills that affect the way we approach and execute tasks.
They range from your people skills to personal management skills like time management, personal development, and self-motivation.
It’s likely that you already have some soft skills from your previous life experience, especially in the workplace. The lack of soft skills is rarely deliberate and requires improvement.
In this post, we will cover the importance of soft skills and highlight which soft skills you should work on if you want to be a better salesperson.
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
Almost every job requires soft skills, and skilled selling is no exception.
You already rely on your soft skills every day as you interact with your customers and handle your professional development.
When you become conscious of what those soft skills entail, you can improve them.
Developing those skills will have a massive impact on how you approach communication with customers, achieve goals, and create opportunities.
Soft skills are important because they make you a better sales professional and are crucial for achieving your full potential.
They also give you a competitive advantage over other experienced salespeople.
A hiring insights report by iCIMS found that an incredible 94% of recruiting professionals believe that a professional with stronger soft skills has better chances of being promoted to a leadership role than an employee with more years of experience who lacks soft skills.
Enhancing soft skills compliments your technical skills and is vital in the age of social selling and teamwork.
You can find an overview of some essential social skills to work on below.
Effective communication is an approach to improving communication with your customers and team members.
Developing that skill means adjusting your communication style based on the responses you receive.
It entails always reading the messages as part of a larger context, seeking value in feedback, and responding in a quick and comprehensible manner.
The benefits of effective communication include a more in-depth understanding of your customer’s needs and the improvement of your sales communication skills.
Effective communication consists of four steps:
- Listening to your customer and trying to understand the issue from their point of view.
- Confirming you heard your customer correctly and making sure you understand their arguments.
- Sending back messages and content that addresses their words, issues, and feedback.
- Asking a relevant follow-up question to further clarify or understand the situation.
A salesperson that mastered the art of effective communication will see value in every message and use it to lead an insightful conversation with their customers.
This approach will resolve any issues, collect feedback, and put you in a position to offer viable solutions and create sales opportunities.
Time management refers to organizing and planning how to spend your time on specific activities.
It is a critically important soft skill for salespeople.
Effective time management enables you to prioritize your tasks so that you work smarter and achieve more in less time.
Adopting this skill makes salespeople better at meeting tight deadlines and dealing with the pressures of their demanding work environment.
Managing your obligations more effectively will result in better performance, as wasting less time means more time to sell, bringing about an increase in revenue.
A study by Forbes has found that many sales reps spend 35% of their total time on selling and 65% on other activities.
The study has also shown that sales reps with developed time management skills spend about 19% more time selling than their peers who lack said skills, which affects total sales.
Successful salespeople manage their time effectively, and as a result, they increase their business results and decrease work-related stress.
A Growth-Oriented Mindset
Being set towards achieving growth leads to learning new skills, meeting more goals, and ultimately closing more sales.
Salespeople who are oriented towards growth realize that by learning new skills they can make new opportunities and strengthen their natural talents to dramatically improve their long-term success.
When you develop a growth-oriented mindset, you think of failure as a learning experience and set goals that help you develop as a professional.
That way, you prioritize experiences that mean that, three years down the line, you’ll be a better salesperson with more skills, abilities, and opportunities.
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has found that training subjects to adopt a growth mindset has a major impact on motivation and achieving goals in the long run, especially with low-achievers.
This was subsequently confirmed by several extensive studies, including one that lasted three decades.
When you develop a growth-oriented mindset as a skill, you won’t be afraid to take necessary risks to learn new techniques and skills, and become a better salesperson.
Building relationships with prospects and peers should be an integral part of a salesperson’s workflow.
It stems from a genuine desire to create lasting relationships with your customers and your business network.
Relationship-building entails establishing a rapport with your prospects, building trust, and nurturing business relationships with your prospects and business partners.
It requires dedication, communication, and paying attention to their needs.
Relationship-building isn’t a marketing strategy but a critically important soft skill that enables you to accomplish customer-related tasks better and make well-informed decisions about your business.
For example, imagine building a relationship with a client you would usually only have a one-off transaction with.
By taking the effort to build trust and sustain that relationship, you ensure they’ll be more likely to share detailed feedback about your product and won’t need extensive marketing to close sales.
In short, developing this soft skill helps you achieve thriving communication with your clients and create new sales opportunities in the future.
Developing your self-motivation as a salesperson will help you take control of your professional development and the number of sales you close.
Since motivation often comes from different factors, it’s critically important to know how to keep going even in the face of setbacks and unfavorable circumstances.
Controlling your inner drive is a skill you can develop.
Working on your self-motivation prevents you from being stuck and helps you advance in any area, whether it’s sales or professional development.
The four elements of self-motivation are:
- personal drive for achievement
A study with over 110,000 students published by Sciencedomain International found that promoting self-discipline, goal orientation, and autonomy-supporting teaching facilitates self-motivation.
It drives students to commit to lifelong learning and leads to more success.
In sales as well, mastering self-motivation will enable you to close more deals, stay driven and seize long-term success even in the most challenging environment.
Not all skills that make a successful salesperson are technical skills.
The ability to develop and master several soft skills will amplify your natural talents and shape the development of your career in sales.
Paying attention to soft skills might seem hard at first, but their benefits are undeniable.
In this article, we’ve identified these soft skills as:
- effective communication
- time management skills
- a growth-oriented mindset
- relationship-building skills
After you start paying attention to these soft skills and gradually work on them, you’ll be en route to better business results and new opportunities.