Running a successful salesforce takes tenacity, discipline, focus, motivation, and hard work. Here at Credico, we have partnered with large sales teams for over 30 years and can confirm there are many skills business leaders look for in salespeople. However, what separates your ordinary salesperson from the top 1% of successful salespeople differs from what you may think.
It’s actually very simple: soft skills.
Soft skills are vital in any workforce, so much so that a recent survey by LinkedIn found that 92% of talent professionals believe soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills when hiring the right person for the job.
Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how individuals work, including how people interact with others, solve problems, and manage their work.
They include interpersonal skills, such as communication, listening, adaptability, leadership, time management, problem-solving, and empathy, among others.
“These skills are among the most important abilities top sales businesses seek in hiring candidates because soft skills are essential in this line of work. They make people more successful in the workplace.” says a spokesperson for Credico.
It might seem like an easy hiring decision when you find a brilliant candidate with the right technical or job-specific skills. However, if they can’t work well within a team or manage their time, they may not be successful in the workplace.
Unlike hard skills that are learned, soft skills are similar to emotions or insights that allow people to “read” others. These soft skills are much harder to learn, at least in a traditional “classroom” setting, and can also be much harder to measure and evaluate.
Most Valued Soft Skills:
Emotional intelligence is your ability to understand and control your own emotions while simultaneously recognizing and empathizing with the feelings of those around you. Utilizing this soft skill allows salespeople to connect with prospects and colleagues on a deeper level, preventing conflict and creating a more harmonious workplace.
Collaboration (or teamwork) is the ability to work effectively with others. Working collaboratively means a salesperson can solve problems quicker and better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Working together also fosters a healthy work environment of learning and sharing between the team.
A creative mind can be hugely beneficial for many salespeople, as a sales pitch is all about creativity. Salespeople must convince prospects to buy your product and become customers; a creative pitch can go miles toward a potential sale. After all, customers don’t want to feel like they are being “pitched at;” they want to feel important and valued. Having the creative skill to adapt your pitch based on a customer’s requirements makes a considerable difference in conversion rates.
Persuasion goes hand in hand with creativity. Case in point, even the most innovative pitches will only catch fire if your sales team can persuade customers. It’s the capacity to convince the person you are speaking with to agree. Ultimately, it’s all about getting a prospect to buy your product when it comes to sales.
Critical thinking is the ability to reason and analyze information effectively. In the workplace, critical thinking involves taking information or problems and processing them logically to extract value and find solutions.
We all face unexpected problems in the workplace. But those with the skill of adaptiveness can approach these problems calmly and find solutions quicker than those who might be less flexible.
Additionally, as the modern workplace is constantly evolving, having a level of resilience to these changes and an ability to view them as opportunities rather than obstacles is an attractive asset to employers.
So how do you encourage more soft skills?
Our first tip would be to encourage your salesforce to continue their personal development. It helps them and can improve your sales team’s performance in the workplace. You can help train their soft skills through coaching, mentoring, or workshops.
When your sales team builds on their soft skills, they build better relationships, close more deals, and reach their full potential as sales professionals.