To succeed in sales, you must master a certain set of skills. Having the right temperament and passion for the job are must-haves, but you can also develop and nurture the skill sets needed to rise through the ranks in the fast-paced sales world.

Here’s our guide to the top 10 sales skills that every professional working in the industry must master:

  • Listening. This doesn’t just mean staying quiet when a lead or client is talking. The real skill is active listening. Sales professionals who master this skill ask relevant questions and really make the person feel that their problems, pain points and ideas are understood.
  • Communication. This isn’t just what you say but how you deliver it, from tone to emphasis, as well as when you choose to stay silent and let the client talk. Effective communication is the salesperson’s best tool, but it takes time to perfect.
  • Rapport building. Why do people choose to buy products or services? It can often come down to trust. In fact, research shows that customers value trust and credibility as among the most important parts of the buying experience. A talented salesperson will be able to use patience, personality, charm and credibility to get leads to like them, to trust their word and ultimately, to make a purchase.
  • A great memory. Salespeople need to be able to recall crucial facts or figures at a moment’s notice, from the details of a product to the projected ROI. Not knowing these figures wastes time and can put a prospect off, while snap recall could be the key weapon in closing the sale.
  • Collaboration. Salespeople don’t always perform best when working alone. Sometimes the best results can be achieved when working as a team, and this could mean collaboration with a client too.
  • The art of persuasion. A good salesperson doesn’t trick you into buying something. They are simply experts at highlighting the reasons why it’s a good idea and demonstrating the value of the product.
  • Adaptability. Salespeople are often thrown into changing situations. If something doesn’t go to plan or a customer throws a curveball at you, would you be able to adapt your approach without missing a beat? This is a strong sign of an excellent salesperson.
  • Resilience. It is crucial for sales professionals to have thick skin. Don’t take rejection too personally, but you should also ensure you take feedback and criticism on board.
  • Objection handling. The way to turn a lead into a customer is to systematically and persuasively overcome their objections. Once there is no good reason not to make a purchase decision, most of the battle is won.
  • Public speaking. Salespeople don’t just sell over the phone, they often need to present, demonstrate or pitch, striking the right balance between giving a polished performance and speaking to prospects with real passion.

For advice and support to help your team develop their sales skills, contact The Institute of Sales Marketing.