7 years ago
January 6, 2017

7 Crucial Skills All Sales Reps Should Master

From rapport building to active listening, learn all of the crucial skills that sales reps must master in order to be top performers. Read on.

Rhys Metler

There are many, many things that can differentiate great sales reps from the mediocre. Attitude is often a huge factor in success. Innate traits like creativity and outside-the-box thinking can sometimes play a part. Some sales people just seem like natural sellers and you can’t quite put your finger on what makes them so great at their jobs. But sometimes, all it comes down to is sales skills. And luckily, sales skills can be learned.

If you want to improve your sales performance, here are crucial skills that you must master.

1. Presence

A sales person who acts nervous or bored around clients isn’t going to make sales. Neither is one who is slouching, stumbling on their words, or avoiding eye contact. The best sales reps have mastered the ability to display confidence, conviction, and interest through their body language, their posture, their facial expressions, and their voice. Believe it or not, this simple skill can go a long way to helping you gain authority and credibility. Selling isn’t just about the way you present your products or services, it’s also about the way you present yourself.

2. Rapport

Great sales reps know how to relate to their buyers. They know how to effectively use rapport and empathy to connect. Though this is one of the toughest sales skills to master, if you get it right, you can successfully differentiate yourself from your competitors and gain new business time and time again. Remember: people want to buy from people they like and trust.

3. Questioning

Being effective at questioning prospects can help you explore their wants, needs, pain points, and desires, create dialogue, and get to the bottom of your clients’ challenges, so you can more appropriately position your products and make the sale by addressing their true needs.

Great questioning can also help you qualify your leads, so you stop wasting time on people who will never buy from you.

4. Active Listening

It seems like a simple skill to master, but active listening is something that many sales people fail at. They may give their prospects time to talk, but all they do is nod their heads then go right back to their sales pitch. Active listening can help you better understand both the content as well as the emotional message that is being communicated by your prospects. And it demonstrates your engagement to the dialogue, making prospects feel heard and cared about.

5. Prospecting

If you’re still using cold calling and cold emailing to prospect, you haven’t yet developed strategic prospecting skills, and it’s time to get to work. These old-school prospecting methods don’t work. And there are far more effective prospecting techniques out there that you need to start leveraging, like becoming a thought leader, turning cold calls into warm ones, and being a resource. Learn how to prospect more effectively and you’ll gain a lot more business.

6. Objection Prevention and Handling

Studying typical objections and finding ways to abolish them in the way you approach the sale can help you prevent objections from popping up. Anticipating objections and understanding how to handle them to ensure that they don’t hinder a deal can help you handle objections that do come up. Both of these skills are important. Without them, you could end up losing sales right at the end of the sales process, after much wasted time.

7. Closing

Understanding tried-and-true closing strategies and perfecting them can help you exceed your sales targets time and time again. By understanding your clients, knowing what kind of tactics will work on them and which won’t, and using the right combination of offering value, using pressure, and using persuasive selling skills, you can learn to not only close more deals, but close them sooner as well.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.