What are the Most Important Soft Skills to Have?

sales soft skills

What is the first thing you notice when someone enters a sales meeting?

According to surveys conducted by Reader’s Digest, first impressions have little to do with what’s on someone’s resume. You’re more likely to hone in on an individual’s soft skills, including emotional intelligence. 

Less concrete skills, abilities, and affinities matter. Do your employees have the sales soft skills necessary to bring your company to the next level?

The first step is understanding the difference between hard and soft skills. We’ve created this guide to explain the distinctions. We’ll share and describe the soft skills necessary to excel in sales. 

It’s never too late to focus on growth and pursue skill and career development. Continue reading to learn about the sales skills that will transform your business. 

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hard skills are strictly job-related abilities. We sometimes call them “technical skills” or “career skills.” Without them, employees could not perform the most basic function of their roles. 

For example, a salesperson must know concrete knowledge about products, policies, and the sales process. These skills are not always transferrable. You can build hard skills through education and experience.

Imagine a salesperson who only possesses hard skills, however. You’d end up with a robot.

Automation can accomplish some jobs. Still, most customers will do anything to connect to a “real person” after dealing with AI assistants. 

Soft skills are personality and humanity-driven. Unlike robots, humans can communicate, solve novel problems, delegate, and make emotional connections. These soft skills are often transferrable, and many are innate or learned over a lifetime. 

The Most Important Soft Skills for Sales Roles

You’re more likely to buy something from someone you like. What is the difference between a likable salesperson and an unlikable one? Often, it comes down to personality-driven soft skills.

Hiring employees with these soft skills is easier than training individuals who lack them. Below we’ll discuss a few of the most sought-after sales soft skills. 

Creative Problem Solving

We like to think of lead generation as human-focused problem-solving. The problem is that you have a product you need to sell. The solution comes down to creativity in your interactions with potential leads.

Strong problem solvers are capable of critical thought. They use the information they have to make second-to-second choices. They are masters of efficiency and capable of thinking through many angles.


The ability to see things from another’s perspective is empathy. Empathetic individuals can understand what someone is feeling and appeal to their emotions. 

Often, the key to moving a product is understanding how it solves a problem for the customer or client. A great salesperson is intuitive when it comes to making these connections. They have a knack for addressing pain points that make your product more appealing.

Furthermore, people don’t like pushy salespeople. When a lead feels targeted, they’re more likely to get defensive and retreat.

A sensitive, empathetic salesperson will notice the signs and hold back. This helps reduce aggressive and off-putting tactics.


The key to an effective sale is fostering a relationship. All relationships improve through clear, open communication.

In our increasingly digital world, successful salespeople must be able to communicate effectively. They must reach people face-to-face, in writing, over the phone, and in front of groups.

How do your employees come across in writing? Are they equally effective in person? 

Lead generation is all about persuasion—the subtler, the better. A strong communicator can persuade without coercion. They choose words carefully, prioritizing clarity over buzzwords. They can also adjust their approach based on their audience and medium.


Few professionals face more day-to-day rejection than salespeople. Individuals who cannot handle failure are unlikely to thrive in sales. It takes resilience to continue to pursue your goals despite challenges.

Today, the topic of burnout is coming up more and more. Individuals who cannot easily move past failure are more susceptible. The most successful employees are able to move forward after a loss.

Resilient employees are comfortable with rejection. They are capable of taking perspective and making changes. They maintain hope and foster a growth mindset that keeps them moving forward. 

Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence also plays a role in building soft skills for business. Six distinct factors make up an emotionally intelligent employee’s skill set:

  • Leadership and supervision
  • Influence and persuasion
  • Flexibility and adaptability 
  • Self-regulatory skills
  • Confidence and self-assurance
  • Social and emotional awareness 

Emotional intelligence is part of many SEL (social-emotional learning) curriculums. Many states and school districts mandate this learning for all students. Young people entering the workforce today have been building this intelligence since childhood. 

Many college-aged employees mentor older employees who did not grow up with SEL. They make excellent natural salespeople. College-aged students thrive in lead generation and communication roles.

We consider college-aged, emotionally intelligent employees to be elite domestic talent. Young people make the perfect contribution to a turnkey sales team. Leveraging their soft skills allows for thoughtful delegation without compromise.

Level Up Your Sales Soft Skills

A competitive candidate is more than a list of accomplishments. You’re unlikely to excel in sales if you lack emotional intelligence. Hire employees with sales soft skills, and you’ll have a more competent sales force. 

The rising popularity of SEL curriculum means most students have the skills they need to thrive in sales. The Selling Factory will help connect you with college students from America’s top universities.

Speak with us about a free consultation. Discover how outsourcing soft skills keeps companies productive. 

Leave a Reply

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.


Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.


Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!


Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.


Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.


Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.


Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.


Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.


Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!


Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!


Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.


Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led Slingshotfund.org to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.


Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.