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What are the important skills to develop in Sales?

What are the important skills to develop in Sales?


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Thomas Edison once said: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. To be successful in sales involves working hard at doing things better than they have been done before and looking for ways to maximise the opportunities presented by the next sales deal, the one after that, and the one after that. And that means developing the skills you already have and recognising the ones that you will need for the job you want.

We have already mentioned the skills that employers look for when you are applying for a job in sales. But now you have a few years of experience and are looking to take the next step up in your career into a new position which requires a whole new set of key skills.

Perhaps you are the best Telesales Representative in your company and have consistently smashed your new business sales target every month. But will that make you equally successful in a face-to-face sales role? Or maybe you are the best Field Sales Executive having developed a number of high profile accounts – is that enough to be a good Sales Manager?

Taking that second scenario as an example, suppose you are hoping to move into a Sales Manager role - gaining an understanding of how to set targets, manage budgets and produce sales forecasts, for instance, will make your application stand out because these are core skills that only people in a management role will use.

Once you recognise the skills needed for your next role you then need to seize the initiative to acquire as many of them as you can.

This will add weight to your application and make an employer realise that you are dedicated to your career and that you have a willingness to step out of your comfort zone by learning new- often challenging- skills. And there are various ways of doing this.

Identify the people in your organisation who are successful doing the type of job you want and find out everything you can about the demands of their role.

Keep abreast of the latest developments within your industry and don’t forget to look at the jobs ads – they will reveal the skills that are required for the position that you are planning to aim for.

Once you know what skills you need, ask your employer about the training courses they provide. Or consider enrolling on one of the many courses run by a number of accredited online providers.

Wondering what to do now? Check out our expert career advice, find out more about the Sales industry or search for the latest Sales jobs.