Selling Skills – What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Selling skills are the abilities and strengths that allow salespeople to collaborate with customers to achieve a mutually desired outcome. This is a highly competitive field that requires individuals who are able to effectively communicate and connect with potential buyers to help them overcome their challenges, meet goals and exceed expectations.

Everyone has a story about a time they worked with a salesperson who understood their business, asked well thought-out questions and truly listened to their needs, connected the product or service to their stated (or unstated but very real) needs, grasped the conversation’s subtleties and created value that helped them make a decision that was right for them. These are the people that your customers want to work with. In addition, these are the types of skills that will set your salespeople apart from the competition.

There are many different sales skills that can be learned and mastered, including prospecting to identify potential prospects, discovery to understand their problems and needs, demonstration of the value you can provide to their situation, overcoming objections, negotiation, and cross-selling. However, the most critical sales skill to have is a strong process that you and your team can consistently leverage to move prospects through the sales cycle and to closure.

Sales managers are borrowing from marketing and incorporating campaign structure to traditional sales activities such as prospecting, which helps them to optimize productivity in this high-performance and revenue-generating activity. Research also suggests that both product knowledge and customer knowledge are important sales skills, because they enable sellers to more accurately link product features with customer needs, instill greater confidence in buyers and enhance their performance at all stages of the sales process (Ahearne and Schillewaert 2000; Ahmad, Sah, and Kitchen 2010; Churchill et al. 2000; Futrell 2006). online marketplace

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