8 Essential Sales Soft Skills (And How To Improve Them)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 March 2023

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.

Salespeople constantly engage with their prospective clients through interpersonal communication. To do so effectively, it is important for them to develop soft skills through practice and exposure. Understanding how a salesperson can effectively use soft skills in the industry can help you prepare for your job. In this article, we discuss eight essential sales soft skills, explain how to improve them and show ways to highlight them in your job application.

What Are Sales Soft Skills?

Sales soft skills are character traits that enable salespeople to communicate with their clients effectively. Compared to technical skills that refer to technology or industry terms, these soft skills dominate workplace interactions. They also impact how a salesperson communicates their industry knowledge to potential clients. The primary aim of developing these soft skills is to build a rapport with customers and advance in the industry.

Related: What Is The Difference Between Sales And Marketing?

Examples Of Sales Soft Skills

Listed below are the eight soft skills that salespeople can develop to be successful in their careers:

1. Empathy

As a salesperson, it is important for you to make your client feel that you are on their side. You can do so by considering yourself in their position and contemplating how they feel and think. This may help you develop long-term healthy relationships with your clients. Knowing them might improve your sales pitch and increase your chances of making a sale. Your customer may not always remember your pitch, but they might remember how you made them feel. Remember to not appear judgemental or make them feel you are only considering your best interests.

2. Storytelling

In the process of building a meaningful relationship with your clients, it is essential to become a wonderful storyteller. By understanding what connects with your client emotionally, you can make your pitch story-like so that it relates to their emotions and highlights the product's key features. This rule applies to both B2B and B2C clients. Storytelling requires good communication skills, which you can develop through practice.

3. Communication

As a salesperson, you may avoid complicated jargon and keep your communication clear. You may spend most of your day talking to prospects, so make sure you use your time effectively. Your communication may alter depending on with whom you are speaking. For instance, your pitch to a prospect may be different to your communication with a senior colleague.

Related: 13 Effective Communication Strategies To Implement At Work

4. Adaptability

As a salesperson, you may constantly communicate with potential clients. A client might keep rescheduling or cancelling meetings. It is essential for you to remain calm and adapt to these circumstances. The client does eventually value your patience and the outcome can be positive. Besides this, customers often consume a lot of information from multiple sources, so ensure you give them the right advice when making a sales pitch. Keep a check on fresh changes and take some time each day to reflect on your pitches to find any scope for improvement.

Related: Social Skills: Definition, Examples And Why They are Important

5. Time management

Sales are the most important part of making profits as a salesperson. So, it is important to develop time management skills. Time management can help in increasing your income and decreasing stress caused by work. If you have a team working for you, educate them about time management and its benefits to improve productivity.

This step can also help you avoid micromanaging your team and diverting your efforts to better causes. Salespeople are also aware of the fact that deals are not closed at the first meeting with a client. It requires them to constantly interact with the clients and follow up with them. This makes time management very essential to complete other tasks besides making sales.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

6. Humility

Humility is an essential soft skill for a salesperson to develop. It can aid in being transparent with your clients. You may not know the answers to every question that they ask you. At such a time, it is advisable to admit that you do not know enough about the topic and commit to finding out the answer. This can make you look trustworthy and pleasant. For instance, if a customer compares your product with that of a competitor, it is important to respond politely. You can answer by focusing on the strengths of your product without demeaning your competitors.

7. Curiosity

Salespeople constantly keep up with new products and changes in the market. Whenever there are any advancements in the field, they stay updated with it to impress their clients. In this process, curiosity encourages them to learn new information on a regular basis. The best way to channel this curiosity is to learn continuously through mobile devices. This way, you can learn through short-form content and stay updated with technical and strategic updates.

8. Confidence

Confidence is an important soft skill that can build a salesperson's personality, besides enhancing their sales pitch. Clients are usually more willing to conduct deals with professionals who appear knowledgeable and confident about their products or services. It is also important to keep them interested in the conversation. Direct eye contact, clear speech and relaxed demeanour are some traits of a confident salesperson.

Related: What Is Self-Confidence? (Definition And Tips To Improve)

How To Improve Your Soft Skills As A Salesperson?

Here are some steps to improve your soft skills as a salesperson:

1. Reflect on your career so far

One way to improve your soft skills as a salesperson is to think about your work performance in the past. Reflect on your achievements and challenges and how your soft skills affected those. This may help you understand which skills you already have and the ones that need improvement.

2. Practise your pitches

Practising your pitches in front of a mirror or with your family can help you prepare for real meetings with your clients. Reflecting on your experiences can help you in improving your communication and interpersonal skills. Constructive feedback from your friends and family can also guide you in improvising your communication skills.

3. Set your career goals

Setting some career goals for yourself can encourage you towards developing new skills. Think about your short-term and long-term goals in the field and what you require to achieve them. Doing so might help you make the right decisions about your skillset and how to improve it.

Sales Skills In The Workplace

Here are some ways to use sales skills in the workplace:

  • Build a connection with the client. Connecting with clients based on your common interests can increase your chances of making a sale. For example, if the client attended the same college as you, talk more about it to make them feel comfortable.

  • Network with industry personnel. The sales field involves building long-term relationships and networking with fellow professionals. Attending networking events can help you in making connections with people who may later give you client referrals or job opportunities.

Related: 30 Common Sales Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Ways To Highlight Your Soft Skills As A Salesperson

If you are interested in becoming a salesperson, consider these guidelines to highlight your soft skills during your job search:

On a resume

An effective way of impressing the recruiter during the screening process is to highlight your soft skills on your resume. It can be an excellent opportunity to show your potential employer that you can fulfil the job responsibilities. Alter your skills section based on the job description provided by the employer. For instance, if the description states that they are looking for someone who can multi-task, then you can add time management to your resume.

In a cover letter

Your cover letter is an opportunity to discuss your soft skills in detail. You can do so by describing your accomplishments in the workplace that you achieved by practising these soft skills. For example, if you fulfilled a big sales goal, the employer can interpret that you can sell products through communication and dedication.

During the job interview

The job interview is another opportunity to prove your ability as a salesperson. Consider using your soft skills in the conversation with the interviewer. Confidence and communication skills can help you prove your ability to connect with clients. You may also discuss a few instances where your soft skills helped you meet sales goals.

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