You’re in a competitive industry, and you want to increase your team’s sales, but you aren’t sure how.
You could provide your staff with additional training on your products and services. No doubt greater product knowledge is valuable.
However, working with your team to enhance their soft skills might be a better option.
Sales soft skills are an underrated set of tools that your team needs if they want to attract prospects and close sales. What are soft skills, and which ones are essential to a good sales team? Here’s what you need to know.
What are Sales Soft Skills
First, let’s talk about hard vs soft skills. Hard skills are easily quantifiable. They are acquired through education and formal training.
In sales, hard skills include product knowledge, qualifying leads, delivering a sales pitch, conducting a product demo, and closing deals.
Soft skills are equally important but more difficult to quantify. Soft skills peronsal attributes that equip an individual to work well with people.
Both hard and soft skills are important career skills. Yet, soft skills are usually underrated and not worked on enough. No matter one’s career, but especially for salespeople, focusing energy on upskilling soft skills will lead to greater sales succes.
What are Soft Skills for Sales Representatives
What soft skills are important for sales reps? At the very least, a sales rep should work on these skills:
A good sales representative needs a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, someone believes their basic skills and traits such as talent and intelligence do not change. They stick to what they know and do not like to be challenged.
With a growth mindset, someone believes they can improve their skills via practice and effort. They see challenges and failure as something to overcome and work through.
Can a fixed mindset be turned into a growth mindset? Absolutely.
To change to a growth mindset, an employee must do three things: pay attention to their self-talk, remind themselves they can’t do something yet, and see what they can learn from their failures.
There are many new situations in sales. Helping sales representatives shift to a growth mindset will help them meet challenges more positiviely thus leading to an increase in deals.
Humility a valuable trait in building rapport with prospects. You are not born with humility. It can be learned. A great way to practice humility is when speaking to a prospect acknowledge that you don’t have the exact answer to something, but are willing to find out for them.
Additionally, start owning your mistakes. When you mess something up, instead of trying to shift the blame to others or external factors out of your control, state it was your fault and that you will work to make it right.
These small gestures lead to greater trustworthiness and stronger sales relationships.
Strong time management skills ensures that a sales rep is planning their day to do the necessary things, showing up time to meetings, and using their time wisely. When a sales rep gets to the end of their day and realizes that they were not as productive as desired, it effects their mindset and their goals.
While there are many tools available to help with time management, it is essential to work on behavior changes. It is vital to continue to teach teams how to honestly assess how much time certain actions take, block out a schedule accordlingly, and break down large goals into micro-goals. This will aid salespeople to create and commit to a regular routine leading to more predictable daily and weekly actions.
Good communication doesn’t mean reading from a script or checklist. It means being assertive about your message, being authentic in your interactions with others, having empathy, and delivering a clear and timely message.
Part of good communication is active listening. Active listening is intentional focus on the other person. This allows a sales person to learn about the other person, their challenges, and interests in growth. To do this well it takes effort.
One way to improving sale team’s communication skills is by practicing. Set up times for salespeople to strengthen their messaging, listen to peers without distractions, and use different techiques to showcase they care.
Emotional intelligence (sometimes called EQ), is another essential skill. EQ allows a salesperson to discern the feelings and thoughts of others, as well as how they relate to others. A higher EQ equates to a better chance to see things from the customer’s perspective and understand their needs – and the solutions you can provide.
EQ requires self-regulation. You need to control and manage your emotions.
Good social skills are needed too. You need to be socially aware of others’ emotions so you can develop empathy, and you need to be self-aware of your own emotions.
Building EQ on your sales team starts with assessing your team’s current EQ level, so that you can focus on which skills to work on first. Expanding a team’s EQ will lead to better communication, group performance, motivation, and organization – all necessary to increase low sales.
Your average sales representative faces more rejection in a day than most other professionals do. Enough rejection and even top performers in your organization may begin to doubt themselves.
However, resilient people are able to bounce back from rejection. That’s not to say that they don’t feel it, but they can acknowledge it and not take a “no” personally.
Resilience isn’t an easy skill to build. For many in sales, it comes with time. Rarely does a sale happen on first contact with a prospect.
Embracing a “no” doesn’t mean you have failed, it simply means you took a step towards a “yes.”
How can a sales rep build resilience? Having a workplace mentor can help, as can additional sales training. Both can give you tools to overcome objections and the confidence required to bounce back.
Don’t forget to celebrate your wins too. They serve as a great reminder that your effort has paid off.
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