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“You can’t learn to be good at sales, it’s just something you’re naturally good at.”

How many times have you heard that chestnut? 

While it’s true that some people are more naturally gifted in conversation, persuasion, and other key sales skills than others, it’s patently false that sales aren’t something that can be taught. Thousands of people learn skills like prospecting, lead scoring, and more every day. But it’s not just the hard skills that can be taught.

Every sales rep needs some key soft skills, and your reps can learn to be good at these skills, too… they just need the right training. 

You need soft skills training for sales teams; I’m here to deliver. Let’s look at the top soft skills every sales rep needs to succeed. Then, I’ll give you three top options for sales training programs that can help you build these skills. 

Why Do You Need Soft Skills Training for Sales Team 

Soft skills are essential in every field, but they’re even more important in sales. Soft skills are the skills we use to interact with others. Where hard skills refer to technical strengths or industry knowledge, soft skills are all about dealing with people.

The skills that might lead someone to describe you as a “people person” are often soft skills. But are these skills innate, or can soft skills be trained?

Of course, you can train yourself to improve at any skill. Though soft skills are notoriously challenging to train and measure, you can take steps to help yourself or your team gain new soft skills or bone up on existing ones. 

One of the most important things to remember when training soft skills is your mindset. An open, learning-oriented mindset is essential for any type of training, but this is doubly true for soft skills training.  

Sales reps must be open to changing the tactical way they approach their sales and how they view the world and their conversations to improve soft skills. 

Let’s look at some of the top soft skills every sales professional needs in their arsenal to build rapport, open opportunities, and crush their targets. 

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1. Emotional Intelligence 

What is this skill?

The first soft skill every sales professional needs to master is emotional intelligence. This skill has many layers, but the essence of emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions. Additionally, this skill can help you recognize and respond to emotions in others. 

Why is this important in sales?

The benefits of emotional intelligence are twofold. First, it’s important to be able to manage your emotions because sales is filled with challenges and rejection. Rejection can result in frustration and other emotions. It’s vital that you can categorize and understand these emotions so you can push past them.

Additionally, reading the emotions and moods of others is a vital skill in sales. Emotional intelligence will help you better read and respond to your prospects and customers.

2. Communication 

What is this skill?

Communication is critical for any professional, but particularly for salespeople. Communication involves conflict resolution, diplomacy, and listening to understand. Additionally, strong communication skills are essential in your efforts to clearly explain the benefits of your solution and the value you can provide your customers. 

Related Read: How to Improve Your Consultative Sales Approach

Why is this important in sales?

Communication skills help you with building strong relationships, resolving conflicts with team members, and understanding processes and projects. Communication skills can help you resolve challenges or objections with prospects and will help you articulate the benefits of your solution in a clear, compelling way. 

3. Caring 

What is this skill?

This skill is all about being genuine. Understanding how to care about others and feeling a true desire to help them achieve their goals is a part of the soft skill of caring. 

Why is this important in sales?

Being genuine is vital in sales. You need to build rapport with your customers and prospects. The best way to build those relationships is by truly caring about them and their objectives. Caring helps with not only your performance but also your happiness in the field. It’s easier and more enjoyable to help people when you truly care about them. 

4. Self-Discipline 

What is this skill?

Can you manage your own calendar? Can you push yourself to do an undesirable task? Or stick to a workout regimen, new hobby, or work process, even if it isn’t easy? If you can do these things easily, you are likely strongly skilled in self-discipline. 

Why is this important in sales?

You’ll have sales managers, coaches, or other leaders to help you in your sales efforts… still, sales is largely a self-motivated field. If you don’t have the get-up-and-go needed to push yourself to make the calls, schedule the meetings, and take the rejections necessary to get ahead in your sales career, you’ll struggle to meet goals quarter after quarter.

5. Curiosity & Resourcefulness 

What is this skill?

Curiosity and resourcefulness are both soft skills that require a desire to learn and improve with new, creative approaches. Resourcefulness also requires you to use limited resources to create incredible results. 

Why is this important in sales?

The sales industry is always changing and shifting. Without curiosity, you may fall into a rut and fail to learn essential new skills. Additionally, we never have all the resources or help we wish we had. A resourceful sales rep cannot create an opportunity out of thin air, but they can get awfully close. 

6. Initiative 

What is this skill?

People skilled in initiative don’t always have to wait for marching orders. They can examine a situation, determine what must be done to succeed, and then act on that solution without prompting. 

Why is this important in sales?

If you are the type of worker who sits around waiting for someone to tell you exactly what to do with your day, sales is likely not the best career path for you. Sales reps must be nimble, creative, and decisive. If you’re presented with an unexpected opportunity, you need to be able to take initiative and capitalize on that opportunity. 

7. Persistence 

What is this skill?

Persistence refers to the ability to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity and obstacles. If you’re slow to give up and quickly bounce back after a setback, you’re likely skilled in persistence. 

Why is this important in sales?

Few fields have as much rejection as sales. As a sales professional, you need to be able to come back swinging after a rejection, after a dozen rejections, after a hundred rejections. This ability to keep coming back, picking up the phone, and calling the next prospect is essential in sales. 

Top Soft Skills Training Programs 

You’ve seen the soft skills you need to master to be a strong salesperson, but how can you begin learning them—or teaching them to your team? You’ll need a robust sales training program. 

Let’s take a look at three options for sales training programs capable of helping your team master the soft skills they need to succeed. 

  1. Sales Accelerator:

My Sales Accelerator offers robust training courses for salespeople and sales managers alike. After beginning the Accelerator, you can expect reps to feel more confident within the first thirty days. Within sixty days you’ll see new opportunities popping up. Then, within two to three quarters, you’ll be able to validate your revenue growth and see how you’re on track to hit your most aggressive targets.

The Sales Accelerator covers the following soft skills in detail:

  • Self-Discipline
  • Optimism
  • Caring
  • Competitiveness
  • Resourcefulness
  • Initiative
  • Persistence
  • Communication
  • Accountability
  • Influence

According to Rich Nigro, VP of Sales at Scylla DB:

“I highly recommend this sales training platform. Bringing Sales Accelerator into my sales organization has allowed me to level-up several reps, improve sales engagement, and improve our conversion ratios.”

  1. Sales Readiness Group:

Sales Readiness Group offers corporate sales training, focusing on industries like life sciences, technology, financial service, manufacturing, and more. Their approach offers consultation, customizable training paths, experiential training, and opportunities to reinforce lessons and measure results. 

Their comprehensive sales training program offers behavioral reinforcement methods that help new hard skills sink in while also developing critical soft skills and giving trainers and mentors the ability to provide in-the-moment feedback. 

The use of role-playing in this training program also helps to facilitate the learning process for soft skills like the ones listed in this post.

According to one attendee:

“The facilitator made everyone feel welcome and comfortable to participate and open up during role plays.”

  1. RAIN Group:

RAIN offers award-winning sales training programs on topics like consultative selling, prospecting, negotiation, and more. Their training programs consist of over seventy modular training blocks, allowing you to construct a customized program for your team. 

They offer training specifically targeted toward the skills needed for virtual selling and account management while also offering programs that target soft skills like time management, productivity, and more.  

According to one learner:

“With a mix of virtual sessions, application assignments, and coaching sessions, it has allowed our sellers to take it from the sessions to adoption in their day-to-day activities.”

The Key to Soft Skills Training for Sales Teams 

Every sales rep needs soft skills to succeed. And, while it’s true that some people are just “born salespeople,” it’s pure fiction to imagine that these skills can’t be taught.

Focusing on building these six soft skills in your sales team will help your reps close more deals and win more opportunities while also creating a more positive and collaborative environment within your organization.

Developing soft skills can be challenging, but by focusing on mindset and employing the help of training professionals like the ones listed in this post, you’ll be able to level up your team in no time.

Check out my Sales Accelerator today to see how this customizable training program can help foster the right soft skills in your reps while also providing them with incredible, actionable tips and techniques.

 

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 25, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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