The essential skills of a sales person

Sales Skills Rating Diagram

If you are a sales person looking for potential jobs or a novice to sales, here are some guidelines to help you succeed. The interviewer will look for and gauge specific knowledge, skills and attitudes to ensure that you are a good fit for the job. Some of the core competencies you will be assessed on are:

  • Adaptability
    The ability to adjust your approach to the needs of each customer is an important trait for a sales person. An interviewer could ask questions such as: give an example of how you had to change your approach in a given situation. If you are new to sales then give a general example from your past and if you have sales experience then it should be sales related.

  • Resilience
    A person looking for a sales job should have the ability to handle rejection and have a "never give up" attitude. The ability to bounce back is important in sales. An interviewer might ask you how you were able to handle a non-receptive customer. Explain how you where able to handle rejection and act in a positive way by breaking down the reservations the customer had.

  • Persuasiveness
    An important trait for a sales person is their ability to persuade customers to close a deal. Communication skills are especially important. Listen to the customer, understand their needs and make them realize that you are there to help. Using trust worthy sources as testimonials will add to your persuasiveness. A positive, enthusiastic approach would be more appreciated than an aggressive one.

  • Negotiation Skills
    A key to successful sales is your ability to negotiate. Know your product well. Point out the value of the product. Knowing your competitors strengths and weaknesses will help you to negotiate on price. Never give anything without getting something back, every transaction should be mutually beneficial.

  • Presentation Skills
    This is the ability to present information to a potential customer based on their requirements. Rehearse well before you make your presentation. Use visual aids where you can. A very important point to note is that the presentation should not be too long and tedious. It must take into account how much information the customer can absorb to avoid information overload, but more importantly it's how you present yourself.

To sum up, a sales person needs to be a person of integrity. They should be organized, courteous and a good listener. The key to a successful interview lies in being forthright and sincere. If in doubt, put yourself in the interviewers' shoes and ask; if our positions were changed, would I recruit myself?


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