What are the sales skills the Modern Sales Professional is going to need? What a great question – and why the “modern” salesperson? Because everything about selling today is different, and it takes a new (modern) approach. The economy, customers, and technology –  they have all changed the game.

So in times of extreme marketplace shifts, hyper-competition, and demanding customers – what are the range of sales skills you need to exceed your goals, expand your business and achieve sales success?

They fall into two categories:

Soft Skills – the relationship building skills, the critical thinking and customer service skills, the skills that encourage people, your prospects, and customers, to know you, like you and trust you.

Hard Skills – the more computer, technical and formal skills that you most likely learned in sales training. Things like building your sales system, setting goals, and industry-related skills.

While the boundaries between the two can blur at times, it is essential to understand and be able to identify the difference between the two. You are going to need both skills to sell in today’s modern marketplace.

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” -Anton Chekvo

So let’s dive a little bit deeper in into the soft skills you are going to need:

What are the top “must-have soft skills” for today’s sales professional?

  1. Flexibility – how stretchy are you? Being in sales is about change, overcoming obstacles and bouncing back.,
  2. Communication – your ability to craft a message in a way that inspires others to take action.
  3. Connection – the ability to get along and connect with people. Get them to want to know you, like you and trust you.
  4. Listening– in other words, knowing when to shut up, really hear what your client or prospect is trying to share with you.
  5. Relationship Building – Both with customers and team members. Success today is a team effort, and the more you invest in others, the more they will invest in you.

Moreover, the hard skills:

  1. Sales Systems – understanding and having an actual sales process. A game-plan and a consistent way you approach sales.
  2. Lead Quality – how to define, research and gain quality sales leads.
  3. Track, Measure, Adjust – how to review and learn from your sales system to track your progress, measure your success and make needed adjustments.
  4. Sales Technology (I should say enablement here) – an understanding of the tools and technology you need to enhance your sales ability.
  5. Negotiation – how to work with customers and prospects to find a deal that works for everyone involved.

I am guessing that by now there are some sales skills you recognize here both in the soft and hard skills that you feel good about, that you know you are solid in. I am also guessing if you are honest, that there are some that may be a little out of your comfort zone.

Well, don’t worry, the great thing about sales is that it is continuously evolving. Moreover, those skills you have mastered – congratulations. For the ones that may need a little more work, there are plenty of resources and tools out there to ensure you can up your sales game! Grab a book, spend a little time “googling” or take a course.

Continual growth is the key to sales, and in a world where the marketplace is constantly shifting, remember the perfect blend of the hard and soft skills is what it will take your sales game to the next level.