Did you know that the median income for a sales representative in 2021 was $61,600? The career may not make you an overnight millionaire, but it can be lucrative and fulfilling.
However, you’ll need to learn some sales hard skills before starting this career. Whether you’re fresh out of school or are looking for a career change, you may not have all of the skills necessary just yet.
Fortunately, you can learn some hard skills for sales to prepare for your next sales call or job interview. Keep reading to find out what you need to learn and how.
1. Customer Relationship Manager
One of the most important sales hard skills to learn is how to use a customer relationship manager (CRM). When you take on an internship or sales job, you’ll need to use a CRM often.
This software houses sales leads and any relevant data about them to help make a sale. When you input leads into the system, you need to know what data to collect and how to categorize it.
Then, when you revisit the lead, you’ll need to know how to read the customer’s file. That way, you can grab any phone numbers and names you need before you make your sales call.
Different companies may use different CRMs, so consider learning multiple if you’re job hunting. You can use your knowledge of different tools to stand out, and you may even be able to obtain certification in a CRM.
A great way to start learning how to use a CRM is to see if the platform offers tutorials. Otherwise, you can experiment with the software on your own to get a feel for it.
If you’re not sure which CRM to learn first, look at current sales job listings. Learn the CRM you see on the most job listings to increase your chances of landing a sales job.
2. Marketing/Sales Automation
Marketing and sales automation is another crucial skill for sales professionals. These skills often go hand in hand with CRMs as some tools help with both tasks.
You can learn to use programs such as HubSpot, Salesforce, or SharpSpring. Again, it doesn’t hurt to learn how to use multiple automation tools to prepare for your career.
However, maybe you already have a sales job. In that case, ask your employer about employee training on the sales automation tools they use.
Then, you won’t have to waste time learning to use a tool that your company doesn’t require. You may also be able to get paid for the time you spend on training.
If you don’t have a job yet, at least learn some of the most popular automation tools. When you have an interview, you can use your education to stand out among other applicants.
3. Active Listening
When you use active listening, you start to understand not only what someone is saying but why. This is one of the best sales hard skills to help you close more sales.
You can get to know your leads, so you can tailor your sales pitch to each individual. Start by getting rid of any distractions so that you can focus on the sales conversation.
It also helps to pay attention to non-verbal cues when speaking in person or over video. When responding, ask questions that allow the lead to talk openly and listen carefully to their answer.
You may even want to paraphrase their answers back to help show you know what the person is saying. It can be hard to start active listening when you’ve never done it.
A great way to practice, though, is outside of sales calls. Try to actively listen to your loved ones as well as your coworkers, and you can put that skill to use in your next sales call or meeting.
4. Presentation Skills
Of course, a good sales pitch requires a nice, professional presentation. If you want to improve your sales skills, you should learn how to make a better presentation.
This can include learning how to use presentation software, such as PowerPoint. However, it also includes learning how to speak clearly and confidently.
Public speaking is also a vital part of a successful sales pitch, especially when selling to teams. Regardless of the size of the audience, you need to know how to make your presentation engaging.
Making eye contact with your leads can also help engage them and make them want to pay more attention. Like active listening, the best way to learn presentation skills is to practice.
Do some mock pitches in front of your colleagues to get experience. Ask for their feedback, and do your best to improve the next time.
If you can’t do mock sales pitches, consider taking a public speaking class. It may not be the same, but you’ll get to practice speaking to an audience.
5. Negotiation Skills
Another one of the best sales hard skills to learn is negotiation. Once your lead expresses interest in the pitch, you have to determine how much they’ll pay.
Communication and active listening are both important when negotiating. Other useful sub-skills include solving problems and emotional control.
It can help to work with a mentor when learning these skills. For example, you could accompany your mentor on a sales meeting to watch how they negotiate with clients.
After a few of those meetings, the mentor can go with you to your next meeting. They can watch what you do and offer any assistance if you need it.
Similar to other hard sales skills, you can learn negotiation with practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll get, so you can help your employer generate more sales.
Learn Sales Hard Skills Now
In sales, hard skills are vital for doing a good job and bringing in sales for your employer. Fortunately, you can learn new things in a variety of ways, from a mentorship to company training to a continuing education course.
Be sure to figure out what skills will help you the most and learn those first. Then, you can continue to learn more skills to help develop your career.
Do you want to get started in a sales career? Apply for an internship today.