Top Sales Skills to Have (Examples for a Resume or Cover Letter)

What are sales skills? Effective salespeople have a unique perspective that is both competitive and beneficial. Certain abilities assist salespeople to recognize opportunities, establishing rapport with clients, persuading consumers to act, and closing a transaction. Whether you're new to the profession or switching to a sales career, it's critical to grasp the characteristics necessary for success in sales.

sales skills

What types of skills are advantageous in sales?

Sales people employ a number of talents to close a sale and keep their work organized. These abilities can be acquired through certificates, classes, or on-the-job training. If you're interested in a career in sales, you should aim to create a well-rounded skill set that includes both technical knowledge and positive interpersonal skills. Hard skills are the procedures and knowledge you employ while performing your profession, whereas soft skills are your attitude and habits.

sales skills

Hard skills

Hard skills are job- and industry-specific capabilities and knowledge that are frequently acquired through formal education or training. Numerous entry-level employment gives on-the-job training for a variety of hard skills, particularly if you demonstrate an aptitude for rapid learning. Employers in every industry, including sales, value hard skills such as mastery of certain software or fluency in a second language. When applying for positions, conduct research into the programs and interfaces used by each company's sales force to choose which hard skills to emphasize on your resume/CV.

sales skills

Soft skills

Soft skills are personal characteristics and actions that affect your ability to operate independently and collaboratively. Employers seek candidates with great soft skills in order to recruit individuals who will contribute to the corporate culture and foster team growth. Both communication and adaptability are examples of soft skills that are applicable in virtually any professional context, including sales. Because a sales job entails developing relationships with coworkers and clients, soft skills are particularly crucial to highlight on a sales resume.

What exactly are sales abilities and sales skills?

Sales skills refer to the characteristics and abilities that sales personnel must possess in order to assist consumers in making purchases and resolving issues. Effective salespeople understand that establishing a positive buyer experience requires a variety of interpersonal skills, goes beyond a consumer's contentment with the purchase and encompasses overall brand engagement.

Customers expect a high level of contact and a pleasurable purchasing experience. Skilled salespeople provide this service by utilizing a variety of strategies and knowledge to ascertain consumer demands and establish personal connections with them.

A great purchasing experience increases customer loyalty, increases the possibility that existing customers will refer to new ones, and assists in meeting sales targets.

Sales skills

A basic understanding of sales abilities enables you to interact with consumers and assist them in making a quality purchase that satisfies their needs. Review the following fundamental abilities and characteristics to gain a better understanding of the sales talents required.

sales skills

Listening attentively

Active listening is a critical sales ability for success in today's competitive sales business. The most effective communicators are also excellent listeners. Maintain eye contact with your clients, maintain an open body stance, smile and nod appropriately, and inquire about their understanding.

Initiative

Initiative is a critical sales talent and leadership attribute. By taking action and demonstrating originality and ingenuity when assisting clients, you demonstrate your capability and earn the respect of clients, coworkers, and supervisors.

Empathy

Recognizing and appreciating the emotions and viewpoints of others enables salespeople to concentrate on client demands. Demonstrating empathy through validating others' experiences and opinions fosters trust.

Verbal communication skills

Communicating clearly, succinctly, and purposefully sends a message of confidence to your clients and can contribute to the development of a trustworthy connection.

A positive relationship with consumers can help you achieve better sales results and provide you a competitive edge in an industry where employees are frequently compensated through commissions or bonus payments depending on sales success.

Positivity

A positive attitude toward sales promotes a positive work environment and the development of strong, respectful connections with clients and coworkers. By smiling invitingly and expressing gratitude for their time, you can be personable and have genuine connections with others.

It is a professional and subtle consideration that fosters respect and instills confidence in your skills and understanding in customers.

Management of time

Daily attendance at work, meeting deadlines consistently, and prioritizing duties demonstrate a strong work ethic and a high level of professionalism.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving abilities are a must for success in the majority of jobs. Critical thinking as a sales skill is advantageous when resolving issues and managing disagreement with clients.

Skilled sales professionals can home in on the primary objections customers may have to close a sale, devise novel solutions to overcome the roadblocks, and assist clients toward a realistic solution.

Self-regulation

Persuasion is a valuable sales talent to have when dealing with clients, employees, and discovering intrinsic motivation. Sales experts understand how to speak to customers in order to influence their purchases and cross-sell in order to increase sales.

You demonstrate your value as a colleague by assisting others in their endeavors and emphasizing the importance of teamwork.

Adaptability

Adapting to change in the workplace is a sales talent that demonstrates a growth attitude, which is highly valued in today's job market. Customers' demands and preferences are constantly changing, and the ability to adapt your sales strategy or give suggestions to increase sales is critical for success.

Genuine clients are more receptive to your advice and opinion if you take the effort to establish trust and credibility. Authenticity refers to the capacity to uphold one's established morals, values, and standards. Genuine salespeople exude confidence and sincerity.

How to enhance your sales abilities

Utilize these suggestions to enhance your sales talents in order to fulfill or exceed your sales quota or to differentiate yourself from the competition.

  • Mirroring practice is necessary. Utilize the same vocabulary and words that your clients do while discussing possibilities, and exercise non-verbal communication skills by imitating their body language to demonstrate that your ideas and intentions correspond with theirs.
  • With intent, listen. Concentrate on what others are saying in order to absorb the complete message. Take mental notes or write talking points as they speak so that you can react carefully when it is your chance to speak. You can begin by paraphrasing their most salient comments to demonstrate that you listened. Additionally, this assists them in clarifying concepts or miscommunications.
  • Learn everything you can. Conduct background checks on clients, particularly when cold-calling. Conduct a search for any available performance data, analyze it, and provide a concise summary of your results to demonstrate your experience and interest.
  • Identify areas for improvement. Establish goals for improvement, even when you are functioning well. Short-term goals that are focused will assist you in achieving your long-term aims and will impress clients and superiors.
  • Solicit feedback. Solicit feedback from coworkers and managers. It demonstrates your appreciation for their thoughts and helps them feel validated. Your acceptance of constructive criticism demonstrates professionalism and may provide knowledge that you might otherwise overlook while self-evaluating. By requesting feedback from a supervisor, you facilitate communication and position yourself for future leadership roles.

Workplace sales skills

Strong sales reps possess compelling personalities and the ability to communicate effectively and dynamically with a large group of individuals. Utilize these methods at work to demonstrate your abilities.

  • Accept new encounters. Be receptive to new challenges and view them as opportunities for learning and progress.
  • Concentrate on teamwork. Encourage others and praise them for their accomplishments. This builds rapport and demonstrates the value of collaboration.
  • Assume accountability. Volunteer for extra responsibilities at work to obtain experience, especially if you're seeking upward mobility. Accept credit for your successes, but equally, accept your failures and use them to develop.
  • Put yourself to the test. Always strive to improve and do a better job than before to demonstrate a strong work ethic and your worth as an employee.
  • Network. Collaborate with others and demonstrate a genuine interest in them to develop a strong network of support at work. When several departments and individuals cooperate cooperatively toward a common goal, the likelihood of success increases.

How to emphasize your sales abilities

When looking for a new job or transitioning into a sales profession, focus on the skill set that qualifies you for the sales position you desire. Here are some techniques to emphasize your sales abilities while applying for and interviewing for sales employment.

On your cover letter, emphasize your sales abilities

The cover letter that is normally included with your resume/CV and job application is the first impression a hiring manager has of the type of sales professional you are. Utilize it to emphasize a few of your major characteristics that correspond with the job duties and responsibilities listed in the job description for the position for which you are applying. Provide crucial facts regarding your sales accomplishments (or other related examples) by utilizing numerical data and demonstrating your efforts' growth statistically.

On your resume, emphasize your sales abilities

Your resume paints a complete image of your abilities, characteristics, and professional experience. Establish your great writing abilities with this document's well-organized material. Include brief information about your work background and sales ability using bullet points and clear headlines.

Emphasize your sales abilities during the employment interview

During the job interview, exhibit your sales abilities by answering questions directly, clearly, and with pertinent details. Interact with the hiring manager to demonstrate your commitment to the industry by passionately and enthusiastically sharing your unique career story.

The sales talents you'll need to succeed will be the situation-and-skill-specific. Numerous sales talents can be practiced and improved on the job, through volunteer activities, or through continuing education classes and other professional training. Your commitment to continuous improvement can assist you in securing the sales position of your dreams.

Top soft skills every salesperson needs

These are the top soft sales skills for sales professionals:

  • Affinity for technology.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Research gathering.
  • Storytelling.
  • Collaboration.
  • Time management.
  • Product-knowledge.
  • Relationship building.
  • Client engagement.
  • Active-listening.

The sales process requires storytelling, building sales presentations for a potential customer, and networking in order to sway the customer toward the opportunity.

Top characteristics of great sales people

Display these characteristics in cover letters, job interviews, and resumes.

Self-Motivated/Enthusiastic

Call it grit or toughness, but self-driven and ambitious sellers can work under pressure, calmly accept rejections, and then rebound to outperform less motivated counterparts.

Adaptable, coachable, and receptive to new ideas

Sales is changing, and sellers who refuse to abandon obsolete tactics will be left behind. To flourish in the business landscapes of the future, salespeople must embrace change and be open to learning new ways of doing things.

Versatile

Not only in nature, but also in the world of sales, adaptability is a survival technique. The tools have evolved, as have the customer demographics. There are new channels for interaction to investigate. Smart sales professionals understand that they must navigate the changing currents of change in order to reach their destinations.

Amicable

The days of lone wolves are over. Tomorrow's workplaces and sales transactions will be driven by collaboration and teamwork. At all levels, successful sellers must be friendly.

Accountable

Top sellers accept responsibility for their errors and hold themselves accountable for their performance. When things do not go as planned, they never offer excuses or point fingers.

objective-oriented

Excellent sales professionals are motivated by the thought that: There is a lofty objective to accomplish. It is a reachable objective. Attaining it is a great feeling. At the finish line, there is a prize. With this approach, these sellers will go above and beyond to meet or exceed expectations. Outstanding sales leadership is crucial in developing highly motivated, goal-oriented salespeople.

Compassionate

Successful sellers nearly always prioritize the customer. While they are proud of their products, they are more concerned with assisting clients in resolving issues. These sellers have a high level of empathy, which helps them to comprehend their clients' perspectives and pinpoint their trouble areas.

Enthusiastic

Even more than courage or ambition, a love for selling may be the most important characteristic of sales professionals. Pursuing your passion will force you to thrive in your area and achieve persistent success.

What are the most important sales skills?

The most important sales skills of all successful salespeople includes:

  • Product knowledge.
  • Service knowledge.
  • Relationship building.
  • Effective communication.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Strategic prospecting.

What skills do sales reps need?

Sales reps need the following skills:

  • Understanding of the sales process.
  • Understanding of the sales cycle.
  • Communication.
  • Prospecting skills.
  • Business acumen.
  • Storytelling.
  • Objection handling.

What are three core skills of a salesperson?

The three core skills are as follows:

  • Passion.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Sales ability and problem-solving.

Every sales job will require these core skills.

What sales skills should I list on a resume?

Here are the best skills to list on a sales resume:

Proficiency with sales software

Consider including experience with sales software systems on your resume if you have it. Even if the organization for which you are applying does not use that exact software, skill in sales applications demonstrates your ability to rapidly pick up new processes.

Product expertise

Understanding all of the nuances of a product is critical to becoming a successful salesperson. If you are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of a company's product, you can impress the recruiter by citing this expertise on your resume.

Listening attentively

Active listening enables salespeople to acquire new abilities and gain a better understanding of how to approach a consumer. Customers who feel heard and receive affirmation from a salesperson may be more likely to make a purchase.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication is a critical talent for salespeople, as they frequently close deals and close sales by initiating conversations with prospective customers.

Establishing objectives

To thrive in their role and display ambition inside their firm, salespeople must be able to create goals. This ability demonstrates your ambition and an awareness of the impact your work has on your employer.

Organization

Because salespeople frequently manage multiple accounts, they need to possess great organizing skills. Your ability to locate and communicate information with clients promptly can mean the difference between a sale and a customer loss.

Management of time

Time management is a critical skill for salespeople who must divide their time between multiple markets and consumers.

Strategic reasoning

Strategic thinking can assist salespeople in developing a plan for accomplishing their objectives. Additionally, it might be beneficial in determining the best sales technique for each consumer.

Demonstration capabilities

When employed in a sales job, you may be needed to show the operation of a product. Demonstration abilities include the ability to construct an effective presentation and an understanding of how to use a product.

Dedication

Employers value salespeople that demonstrate devotion and commitment to their jobs. Additionally, dedication demonstrates that you will follow up with clients whenever possible.

Leadership

Leadership abilities can be advantageous in a sales role, particularly if you choose to work in a team. Employers frequently seek candidates with demonstrated leadership ability to head their sales teams.

Motivation

Because salespeople are frequently in charge of prospecting for clients and closing deals, demonstrating motivation is critical when applying for sales jobs. Employers desire highly motivated individuals to help them expand their businesses.

Growth-mindset

Having a growth attitude is critical in the sales profession, where opportunities to learn and develop new abilities are constant.

Initiative

Initiative is the capacity to initiate projects and investigate fresh leads independently. The most effective salespeople are frequently quite adept at taking the initiative to seek out new clients and develop new sales methods.

Flexibility

To close a sale, salespeople must be able to adapt to a changing environment. They will be required to respond to scenarios that arise during client interactions, needing both flexibility and the ability to adjust a sales plan on the fly.

Business acumen

Salespeople, being critical components of every firm, should have a thorough awareness of business procedures. If you've done any business coursework, it may be advantageous to include this skill on your resume.

Persuasion

Persuasiveness refers to a person's capacity to persuade another person of your point of view. Employers value persuasion as a skill, much more so when dealing with challenging clients who may require convincing prior to completing a purchase.

Cold calling

Cold calling is a sales-specific talent that businesses employ to contact potential clients. Cold calling experience and success might help you stand out as a candidate for sales positions.

Retention of customers

Customer retention is critical to a business's profitability. If you have experience implementing tactics to increase repeat purchases, you may want to include customer retention as a talent on your resume.

Consulting

Experiential sales professionals frequently consult for a variety of businesses and people. Consulting expertise demonstrates a great ability to communicate complex sales concepts to others.

Scheduling

As a salesperson, you may be expected to manage complicated schedules. Scheduling abilities demonstrate your ability to pay attention to detail and keep track of the most critical information for each client.

Communication with the public

Skills and expertise gained in public relations can readily be transferred to a sales environment. Controlling how an audience reacts to your brand or product is critical to closing a sale.

Marketing

Many firms want to hire salespeople with marketing skills because they may mix advertising into their sales approaches. Additionally, marketing skills can assist you in identifying your ideal demographic and determining how to sell to them.

Networking

Your capacity to establish and sustain professional contacts with others is referred to as networking. Because many businesses operate on the basis of connections with clients and partners, networking is a critical skill to have while looking for a sales career.

Researching

Salespeople are frequently asked to conduct research on their client base or the geographic area in which they are selling. Employers are on the lookout for employees with research skills who can help them enhance their strategies for executing their sales strategy.

Management of projects

Individuals who excel as project managers excel in task coordination and interpersonal communication, two critical functions of a salesperson. This is especially true if you are seeking a sales leadership role.

Analyses of data

Data analysis can be a critical component of the sales process, both during the preparation stage and when judging the success of a sales strategy.

Territorial administration

Businesses frequently allocate salespeople specific areas or territories in order to reach new markets. Territory management is a desirable skill for anyone looking to lead a team or take on additional duties in a sales position.

Management of objections

Objection management refers to a salesperson's ability to circumvent and resolve any objections a customer may have to a sale. This ability is typically acquired through sales experience and establishes you as a suitable candidate.

Relationship management with customers

Customer relationship management, or CRM, is a sales concept that refers to your capacity to guide a customer through the whole sales process, close a sale, and then generate repeat business. This competence demonstrates an understanding of the sales cycle and the ability to close a sale.

Development of a sales pitch

A sales pitch is the presentation made by a salesperson to persuade a prospective customer to purchase a product. Developing an effective sales pitch is a sought-after skill that involves strategy and ingenuity.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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