Copy of What Are Soft Sales Skills? The 11 Skills Your Sales Team Needs to Be Successful

In the world of sales, it’s becoming more and more obvious that soft skills are the key to success.

But, what are soft sales skills and how can you be sure that your sales team has what it takes to perform?

The only way to ensure you have a competitive sales team is to give them the support and training they need.

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of soft skills for salespeople in every industry and what you can do to give your team the upper hand in every deal.

Table of Contents

What Are Soft Sales Skills?

Soft skills are those skills that can’t typically be tested or quantified. These skills are the interpersonal and intrapersonal personality traits that help salespeople communicate with and understand others.

These skills may include:

  • Communication capabilities

  • Emotional empathy

  • Social graces

  • Teamwork

  • Personal habits

  • Time management

  • Confidence

  • Flexibility

  • And more

Salespeople who possess these skills can work more efficiently and reach their full potential in a sales role.

Why Soft Skills Are Important in Sales

Soft skills make it possible for salespeople to better understand their customers and what makes them tick.

The more information a salesperson can obtain, the more power they’ll have during the sales process and the closer they’ll be to making a deal.

Soft skills enable salespeople to establish trust with their customers by tapping into the buyer’s emotions and influencing their decisions.

The Value of Actively Training Your Sales Team to Practice Soft Skills

James Heckman, Nobel prize winner, claimed that:

“Soft skills predict success in life, that they casually produce that success, and that programs that enhance soft skills have an important place in an effective portfolio of public policies”.

However, in a 2020 report by the Society for Human Resource Management, it was found that soft skills are one of the most commonly lacking skills in recent graduates.

That being said, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to invest in soft skills training for their employees.

The Maker Group is a team of experienced commercial negotiators specializing in negotiation training and workshops that emphasize the importance of soft skills training for sales teams.

Our programs teach employees how to develop the soft skills that are critical to the success of every negotiation.

11 Soft Sales Skills for Salespeople AND Negotiators

Not all salespeople are negotiators and not all negotiators are salespeople.

There is a line in the sand between these two roles.

Selling skills are about creating demand. Negotiating is about coming to terms with what that demand looks like.

They are two sides of the same coin, but two very distinct skill sets that are required at different parts of the journey.

When looking for sales and negotiation training for your team, you’ll want to make sure the following soft skills are included in the training.

#1: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is what will help your employees know when to be:

  • Confident

  • Reassuring

  • Humble; and

  • Empathetic

Arguably the most important soft skill, emotional intelligence training can’t be skipped as it encompasses much of what is needed to understand how other people:

  • Think

  • Behave; and

  • Make decisions

Salespeople who exhibit emotional intelligence can read the emotions of others and adapt their responses to achieve their desired outcomes.

#2: Communication: Asking Open-Ended Questions

Sales teams must master communication skills if they want to deliver the right message to the customer.

Asking open-ended questions is the only way to effectively relate to a customer and learn exactly what their wants and needs are.

Whether your team is answering customer questions on the sales floor or providing information to prospective clients, your sales staff must adapt their communication skills accordingly.

#3: Active Listening

Listening to your customers is the only way to know exactly what they want and need out of the deal. Sadly, many people today:

  • Rush conversations

  • Interrupt; and

  • Make assumptions about what the other person wants

Active listening skills are what will allow your sales team to not only acknowledge the needs of your customers but also validate their concerns.

How your sales team responds to your customers can make all the difference in their potential to make a deal.

#4: Empathy

Empathy allows you to feel what another person is feeling, and it’s a key soft skill in the sales process.

Not only will your sales team have the ability to understand your customer’s feelings, but they’ll be better positioned to help them achieve their goals.

This can alleviate any conflict or frustration during a sale.

Unless your sales team has been taught how to empathize with your clients, they may face more rejection than necessary.

#5: Confidence