Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples and Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sales jobs demand specific skills that facilitate identifying sales opportunities, building professional relationships and trust with customers and successfully closing sales. Since many sales representatives earn a commission on their sales, there are often immediate monetary benefits to improving your salesman skills. Understanding which skill sets to focus on can help you strengthen your resume and improve your sales figures. In this article, we outline the top 25 sales skills with examples and tips on how you can improve your skills.

What skills do you need in sales?

In sales, you need skills that enable you to communicate with customers and close sales successfully. This could include soft skills like communication, negotiation and collaboration that may come naturally to certain individuals, and hard skills or technical skills like product knowledge and expertise in business software, which requires mindful development. You can improve these skills through regular practice.

What are the best sales skills?

The best sales skills are the ones that come naturally. This includes skills like social skills, relationship building, communication, storytelling and empathy. Technical skills like negotiation and research skills can be developed with practice and time. You may also improve your storytelling or communication skills with practice, but having a natural flair for these skills helps you become successful in sales faster.

Top 25 sales skills

Below are the top 25 sale skills that can help you make a positive impression on clients and improve your chances of closing a deal:

  • Active listening

  • Empathy

  • Communication

  • Objection management

  • Negotiation

  • Self-motivation

  • Product knowledge

  • Prospecting

  • Time management

  • Relationship building

  • Storytelling

  • Research skills

  • Problem-solving

  • Collaboration

  • Knowledge of sales/CRM software

  • Customer engagement

  • Conflict management

  • Presentation skills

  • Lead qualification

  • Closing skills

  • Adaptability

  • Strategic selling

  • Customer success management

  • Social skills

  • Goal orientation

Customer-facing sale skills

Below are a few important customer-facing sale skills:

1. Objection management

Sales professionals should have the ability to soften an objection. They can do this by identifying the core issue and discarding any related problems that are a subset of the main issue. You should provide clarity and resolve objections with effective solutions.

2. Storytelling

As a sales professional, you have to create a narrative around the product or service you are selling that keeps the client interested in your pitch. You have to be able to weave a story together that highlights how the product or service has helped other people with the same issues.

3. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills help sales professionals navigate through the various challenges they are encountered with frequently. Sales jobs could throw unexpected challenges at you at any time. You must be able to manage these challenges efficiently.

Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

4. Customer engagement

Sales jobs often require you to meet your customers both in professional and casual settings. For example, you may be taking out your clients for a drink or dinner. In such situations, it is important that you get along with people well. You should be able to keep them engaged so that they feel comfortable with you.

5. Conflict management

You could have a conflict with your client regarding the pricing or delivery schedule. Conflicts with your competitors or within your own organisation are also common. You have to be able to maintain calm during such situations and handle conflicts appropriately.

6. Presentation skills

Sales professionals are often required to demo their products to potential clients. You must have good knowledge about your product so that you can explain its benefits to your potential clients. You should have strong presentation skills to engage your clients.

7. Social skills

In sales, you have to speak to people on a regular basis and depend on connections for leads. Being socially active lets you connect with new people. It also helps you build great relationships.

Read more: Social Skills: Definition, Examples and Why They are Important

Core sale skills

Here are some of the core skills a salesperson should have in order to perform their job well:

8. Product knowledge

Good sales representatives know the pros and cons of each product or service they sell. As a result, they can provide details about any item. This helps them make informed recommendations based on a shopper's needs.

9. Negotiation

Negotiation skills equip you to offer deals that are beneficial to both parties. Strong negotiators are skilled at evaluating the client's position. This helps them determine how to get the most value from a sale.

10. Prospecting

Prospecting skills equip sales professionals to identify opportunities for new leads. Prospecting involves networking with others and successfully evaluating their needs to determine which individuals and companies can get the greatest benefit from the products or services that the sales representative offers.

11. Research skills

Sales jobs demand deep research about your market and clients. Analysis of your market will help you identify new business opportunities and how your competitors are doing. Studying your client's market will help you find out up-selling and cross-selling opportunities in your existing clientele.

12. Knowledge of sales/CRM software

Selling has become very process-oriented with the advent of technology. For instance, most organisations use CRM software to record their sales-related data. As a sales professional, you must be sufficiently adept at using these tools.

Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

13. Lead qualification

Lead qualification is the process of classifying the leads you get into different categories. As a salesperson, you should be going after the good leads to make the best use of the time you have in your hands. Thus, being able to assess which leads are worth following on becomes a must-have skill.

14. Closing skills

Knowing when to close the deal is an important skill for salespeople. You should know when to stop negotiating and start closing. If you fail to close a deal at the right moment, you may end up losing it altogether.

15. Strategic selling

Strategic selling means selling to the right people in an organisation. You must make sure you are speaking to the correct stakeholder when you are trying to sell. If you spend time selling to the wrong person, who does not have the authority to make the decision, you would waste a lot of your time.

16. Customer success management

Customer success management is giving the interest of your customers the highest priority. In highly competitive markets, giving your customers priority and ensuring they have a great experience at every stage of the selling process significantly improves your chances of making the sale.

Soft skills in sales

Here are a few soft skills required in a sales job:

17. Active listening

Active listening is the ability to hear and understand what your client tells you. When you practise active listening skills, you give the speaker plenty of time to share their thoughts and respond to the specific points mentioned rather than provide a generic answer that may or may not apply to what the client said.

18. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to relate emotionally to another individual. Empathic sales professionals can place themselves in the client's position and develop personalised solutions from their point of reference to solve their unique issues.

19. Communication

Seasoned sales professionals can communicate clearly with others both verbally and in writing. They are skilled at choosing the most effective words and phrases for the conversation. You should be able to speak or write in a way that everyone can understand you.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

20. Self-motivation

Sales representatives must be self-motivated and diligent. This career can present both ups and downs, but the best sales professionals maintain steady forward motion, working as hard after a big sale as they do after losing a client.

21. Time management

Sales representatives must constantly evaluate their time constraints and strive to close sales as quickly as possible without rushing the customer. Strong time management skills equip sales professionals to make the best use of their available time and schedule their days to fill the hours productively.

22. Relationship building

As a sales professional, you must be good at building long-lasting and strong relationships. Having the right relationships helps in closing deals with your regular clients and also helps in getting good leads that have a very high chance of getting converted.

23. Collaboration

Sales professionals have to collaborate with other departments in the organisation, like inside sales, manufacturing and CRM. Being able to collaborate effectively with all these departments will make your job easier and help you be effective in your job.

24. Adaptability

You may have to face unexpected situations like last-minute cancellations, angry and abusive clients. You have to be able to adapt and handle such situations smartly.

25. Goal orientation

Selling is all about targets. You have to make sure you hit your targets consistently. Your remuneration would be linked to your targets in some way or the other.

How to feature your sale skills on a resume

Detail your past sales experience on your resume using facts and figures to support your successes. Convey your sales figures using the appropriate scale relative to the size of the company or the value of the product. For example, rather than saying you maintained five sales accounts, specify that you managed 50% of the company's total clients. Detail how much you increased sales or improved outcomes. Use solid facts and figures to support your successes and demonstrate the strength of your skills.

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