Having a well-rounded academic foundation is undoubtedly one of the most important qualities that people in sales jobs can bring to the table. However, qualifications and paperwork is increasingly taking a back seat when it comes to other skills that salespeople ought to embody. After all, sales as a profession is something that cannot necessarily be taught in a classroom. Success in the field comes with live experience and having the natural knack for closing the deal.
This is especially important because certain sales positions look for specific skills that are exclusive to their particular sector. This is certainly true of technical salespeople, who must hold both technical qualifications and have the specific hands-on experience in dealing with the technology they are handling. Similarly, they must be able to translate the usually confusing jargon into layman's terms so that the pitch can be delivered to a variety of audiences.
What are the definitive skills for sales jobs?
There are, however, a number of skills that are common to salespeople and often proven themselves to be “the” skills that set salespeople apart around the interview table. Candidates who are able to demonstrate the following traits will usually find themselves securing their next role:
Having an outgoing and likeable personality is one of the key traits that a salesperson must embody. This personality trait is sometimes held as a more natural function; something that our minds naturally gravitate towards. However, social functional skills are indeed ones that can be learned through practice and exposure to the sales floor.
Being able to project a pitch with confidence and authority is another key trait that salespeople must embody. After all, who is going to buy a product or service from a salesperson who does not truly believe in what he is selling? Furthermore, this confidence will likely shine through in a pleasant pitch that is both engaging and fun to watch. Like having an extroverted personality, having authoritative manner is something that can be practised on the sales floor, but should be groomed in current roles before applying for a sales position – being confident will come through clearly (or not) when it comes to the interview.
Salespeople will need to be complete self-starters and need to sometimes work unsociable hours in order to meet the needs of the clients who are interested in buying a product or service. This means it will be entirely up to the salesperson to be available to clients and their needs at the times to suit them: not their own schedule.
Our sales recruiter's have highlighted their top application tip in the video below:
It is rare that salespeople just want to be salespeople. Often, they will want to progress in the company and have some sort of five year plan at their disposal. This is one of the more common interview questions for a salesperson, so it is best to keep ambitious beliefs in mind and be prepared to present them around the interview table. They will indeed score highly and are even better when they directly relate to the employer's needs and mission.
Technical salespeople are not the only sellers who have to deal with jargon and difficult terms. Salespeople will sometimes have to deal with difficult products or services that are sometimes inaccessible to consumers from a communication standpoint. It is therefore up to salespeople to reduce the amount of jargon in their presentation in order to ensure their message is received at all levels.
Some employers will give salespeople the flexibility to set their own sales prices when they are not selling something that has a fixed price tag. This means they can entice new customers by being able to negotiate a price package to suit their own needs and is especially common when selling a service. Having negotiation skills ensures the employers' resources are going to good use without running at a loss: the very core nature of businesses as a whole.
Arguably the most important quality that employers will look for around the interview table is the unbridled passion that only true salespeople can bring to the field. Even those without experience can be forgiven when they are willing to take on the challenge of training and realising their full potential as salespeople. This positive attitude is most definitely the key to success.