7 Soft Skills Every Salesperson Needs to Succeed in 2020
The landscape of sales is constantly shifting. Strong social skills and confidence in your product will still be important in 2020.
The landscape of sales is constantly shifting. Strong social skills and confidence in your product will still be important in 2020. But with social selling and constant advancements in technology, you will need the ability to adapt and move with the times. Salespeople have more tools than ever at their disposal to help them in their role and we only see this increasing. In fact, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 25% of customer service and support operations will implement AI technology.
Let’s take a closer look at the skills you need to stay on top in 2020:
Understand Social Selling
The popularity of social media is going to be higher than ever by 2020, with approximately 3.484 billion users at present. A salesperson needs to be able to understand and utilize the power of social selling. Aside from the opportunity to move prospects along the funnel, social media offers a host of information about leads that can be applied to other arms of sales. It offers an insight into buyer’s interests, behaviors and needs that you should listen to if you want to stay ahead of the game.
Technology can give us a wealth of information about leads. And this is all well and good, but it means nothing if a salesperson does not understand the information in front of them and cannot apply it in real life.
Strong Writing Skills
With the use of social media, text messages, chat apps and emails, it’s important for a salesperson to be able to write well, in addition to being good at talking. Close lay out some tips for sending texts as part of your conversion process here, including:
- Not sending a text straight after an opt-in.
- Asking for quick and simple answers.
- Using voice and tone that fits the conversation.
Ability to Adapt
With the fast-moving field of technology and the way we sell changing, it’s important that a salesperson can adapt in 2020 and make the most of new tools and techniques as they come along. E.g. people used to send business proposals in Word or PDF, but now there is software available that can save you time designing and writing it and will even sign it automatically, analyze how prospects are reading your proposal or even pay directly from it. Times change and those who adapt stay ahead of the game.
Good Listening Skills
A good salesperson needs to listen to the customer and understand their needs so that they can offer them the optimum solution. In fact, HubSpot predicts that in many cases you will have to “de-educate” customers as they will have read so much information about your market that they are confused or misinformed.
E.I. can be the secret sauce that helps you to stand out from the rest of your co-workers. It can be summarised as the ability to:
- Recognize, understand and manage our emotions.
- Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.
In the world of selling you need to connect with your customers on an emotional level and you need to be aware of the emotions you are projecting to them. If you are slightly off with them because you have had 10 rejections today and you aren’t dealing with it well, this may lose you the sale.
MindTools offer some tips for developing emotional intelligence, including:
- Observing how you react to people.
- Doing a self-evaluation.
- Examining how you react to stressful situations.
Customer Service Skills
Gone are the days when salespeople just need to sell. Good customer service skills could help to increase your conversion rate and churn in the long run. Customers want to feel like you understand your needs and trust you and your company, and these skills can help to achieve this. It’s also important to remember that in some cases you are responsible for the first impression of your company. A good first impression could help to create loyal customers in the long term.
Entrepreneur recommend spending some time in the customer service department of your company. They say: “Forall areas of your business, whether they be sales, marketing or customer service, the customer should be top of mind. Because, after all, the success of your business is dependent on your customers.”
Wrapping It Up
The role of a salesperson is continually shifting to one which requires a wide range of skills, gone are the days when you just needed powers of persuasion. You need to have an awareness and understanding of how your role fits into the bigger picture of your company, strong interpersonal and analytical skills, and the ability to keep up with fast moving technology. Luckily if you don’t possess all of these skills right now, there are steps you can take to learn and improve on them.