What are the Most Important Skills in Sales?

In order to be a successful sales rep you need to develop sales skills that set you up for success, so what are the most important skills in sales? Today we explore important sales related skills you should look to develop if you are a sales rep to increase your chances closing more deals and growing your business.

What are the Most Important Skills in Sales?


Finding success in sales requires patience, discipline, and a clearly defined plan for how you plan to engage with contacts. How you qualify your prospects will require you to make a connection with that contract through your channels of communication which can also be called a sales cadence. A sales cadence is a sequence of sales related activities that a rep can follow to move leads and prospects through the sales pipeline. Touchpoints are the different ways of communication you can use to reach prospects. These can include emails, phone calls, social media and voice mails. Sending an initial email can be seen as the easy part of the sales cadence however following up with that contact afterward consistently can be challenging. Most studies conclude the average number of touchpoints required to qualify a contact is between 7-13 touches. For example, I have had experiences of making 5-7 outreach attempts to contact with no response. Then on the next outreach the contact actually does have an existing problem our product can help them solve, however they did not have a chance to review previous emails or answer previous phone call attempts to them.  “You have to be present to play” is the idea that a company may have a need for your product, however if they do not know about your company they can not consider your product as a solution. Being consistently persistent not to the point of pestering is the key when conducting your follow ups to your contacts. Consider this article for more information.

An important part of success is a way to provide information to your contacts in a way that makes them want to do business with you. You should understand how prospects learn and what communication style they prefer. Some important communication skills can include the following:

Active Listening

If you make contact with a prospect they will quickly want to know who you are and why you are reaching out to them. At VA partners if we reach a contact over the phone we reference an email we had sent to them and ask if they have had a chance to review it yet. Most of the time the contacts will say they have not reviewed the email and we then explain the value proposition to them within 15 – 20 seconds. After this is completed we wait to hear the contact’s thoughts or questions they may have. Sometimes the contact may wish to explain or go into detail about their current situation and how they are conducting their job currently. Keeping track of the information a contact provides to you should be noted.

Avoid Making Assumptions

Most of the time if you are working in sales as a rep for some time you can easily fall into a routine. When it comes to prospects you may have identified a certain profile you may believe has a similar problem however all prospects or problems could very well be different. Part of active listening includes letting the prospect explain to you what problems they are experiencing in their own words. Once a prospect has communicated the challenge or problem they are experiencing then you can follow up with additional follow up questions or go into detail about how your product can help them address their problem. For more information on communication skills consider this article.   

Ability to Make Sales Judgement Decisions

It is useful to know how well contacts are interacting with your outreach attempts. Evaluating how many contacts you are reaching out to from a specific vertical could be an effective way to judge individual verticals. The first stat you should track is the number of sales demos or meetings you have booked for a specific vertical. You should also track the types of responses contacts are communicating to you if you happen to contact them. If you find that contacts in a specific vertical are overall not as receptive to your product you may want to consider adjustments to your sales outreach plan. This could involve adjustments such as altering your email templates, adjusting your call script message, or selecting a new vertical to reach out to. At VA partners we typically begin with outreach to at least 100 contacts within a vertical and record those activities then evaluate those results and responses to see if these results meet the expectations we set. Consider this article for more information on improving your sales skills.

There are many more sales related skills that are important for you to develop to increase your chances at finding success. For more information on sales skills consider this article.   

The goal of developing your sales skills to empower your reps with the confidence to adapt quickly to different situations they may experience when interacting with contacts. If you want some help with your sales efforts, you can reach out to me.

What are the Most Important Skills in Sales?