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5 skills you must have to succeed in sales

By Fi Darby | 05 August 2019

Careers in sales are available across a wide range of Australia’s industries. These include rental and real estate, retail and wholesale trade. There are jobs in sales for people with a range of educational achievement. For example, sales assistants are often educated to Certificate III or IV level whereas sales managers, for example retail area managers commonly hold Bachelor degrees. 

If you want to succeed in the sales industry, you need to develop a strong set of key skills that include personal and job specific skills. If you are a people person, a career in sales may well suit you. There are sales skills courses out there that will help you to make the most of your existing abilities. Skillstalk take a look at the key skills for success in sales and help you to think about how you could develop these.

What skills do I need to succeed in sales? 

  1. Interpersonal skills.
  2. Product knowledge.
  3. Patience.
  4. Strong work ethic.
  5. Influence people.

1. Interpersonal skills.

Interpersonal skills will help you succeed in sales.

Interpersonal skills are the ones that help you communicate effectively and confidently with other people. You may already have good interpersonal skills and not realise it. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself these questions:
  • Do I find it easy to talk to different types of people?
  • Do other people seek me out to help with projects?
  • Am I comfortable communicating in a variety of different ways?

If your answers are ‘yes’, then chances are your personality and attributes already have some of the skills for success in sales. However, during your career you may face different workplace personalities and improvement can always be recommended.

How can I improve my interpersonal skills?

Interpersonal skills are key to success in sales but can always be improved on. Below are a few simple steps that you can take to develop:
  • Take interest in what your work colleagues are doing and talk to them about it.
  • Study a Business Sales course online, for example Upskilled’s Certificate IV in Business Sales (BSB40615) includes a module that will help you build client relationships and business networks.
  • Join in with after work clubs and make an effort to get to know your colleagues.

2. Product knowledge. 

knowledge concept

Product knowledge is one of the key skills for success in sales.

During your career in sales, you may well move from industry to industry. This isn’t a problem as many of the skills you need will be completely transferable. However, getting quickly up to speed with product knowledge may be something you have to get used to.

This might sound daunting but the truth is that flexibility can be developed and put to good use when you change jobs. Taking on new challenges like an online course in Business Marketing can help build your adaptability but you can also:
  • Make sure that you respond positively to change.
  • Take a problem solving approach to issues.
  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes.

How can I improve my product knowledge?

You can start to improve your product knowledge by reading and researching before you even take on a new job role. However, by far the best way to understand your company’s products is to talk to colleagues and customers. Chat with development teams, read all the product material available and make sure you understand what clients do and don’t like about your offering.

3. Patience. 

Patience can make the difference between failure or success in sales.

The very worst thing a sales representative can do is put too much pressure on a client in order to close a sale. By allowing people time to make their own decisions, you will develop a good level of trust and be more likely to see happy clients following a purchase.

If your product isn’t right for a particular customer, talk to them about their needs and use the discussion to build your product knowledge. Ways to close sales without being overly pushy include:
  • Developing a deep and real understanding of client issues and problems.
  • Understanding that it sometimes takes time to gain customer trust.
  • Being completely honest about what you can offer.

How can I improve my levels of patience?

Success isn’t always instant and one of the best ways to help yourself to understand this is to get involved with a long-term project. These might include:

4. Strong work ethic.

hardworking concept

Developing a strong work ethic will help towards sales success.

A career in sales can be rewarding on both personal and financial levels. It can also be incredibly hard work, particularly when you are starting off. Employees who work hard are usually valued and often sought-after for promotion. Getting used to hard work will benefit you in the future so it pays to focus on this as you start your career. If you improve your work ethic, you will notice that:

  • Your colleagues want to work with you more often.
  • You find your job role more rewarding.
  • Your managers will notice the change and trust you with interesting tasks.

How can I improve my work ethic?

Sometimes improvements in your workplace start at home and learning to work hard is no exception. Ways that you can improve your efforts at work through your leisure and home activities include:

  • Choosing hobbies that keep you active and allow you to meet other people.
  • Trying a working holiday instead of your usual holiday destination.
  • Spending time with other people who thrive on working hard.

5. Influence people. 

When you learn how to influence people, you will succeed in sales.

In order to be someone who influences others, you must first earn their respect. This respect doesn’t come immediately but is formed gradually by the development of a number of factors. These include:

  • Demonstrating self confidence, humility and a willingness to learn.
  • Taking the time to get to know people and their businesses really well.
  • Doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.
  • Sharing useful knowledge where it is relevant.

How can I increase my influence?

This is possibly one of the trickiest sales success skills to master because it can take a long time. Maturity plays a big part but even if you are young, you can still gain influence by:

  • Making sure you regularly update both your work and personal skills.
  • Spending time with people who have earned your respect.
  • Knowing your subject inside out.

Do you want to gain more skills to succeed in sales?

One of the very best ways to improve both your personal and business skills is to enrol in an online program of study. Online learning is flexible and can help you communicate with other people and develop strong working practices.

Upskilled is one of Australia’s largest Registered Training Organisations (RTO) and offers a range of business and business sales courses. For a flexible and manageable way to develop your skills, get in touch with an education consultant today.

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