“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Sales are all about relating with people, negotiating, asking questions and expressing needs as well as the exchange of information.  In the past, sales was was a relatively lonely endeavor, bringing to mind the image of a lone man traveling on a bus with his suitcase of wares to travel to a distant town. Sometimes he would be welcome, but most of the time he was booted out and labeled a snake-oil peddler.  The sales profession has come a long way from the days of the solitary traveling salesman. Today, the sales professional is highly trained, supported and is, very often, part of a team.

The sales profession is a demanding one that is highly competitive and often requires long hours of dedication before seeing any tangible results.  It is hard work and faith in practice. With the intense competition for sales in a heavily inundated market, what is a salesperson to do in order to stand out from the rest and be successful in his profession?

In the following article, we will identify the 5 critical skills a successful salesperson needs as well as the6 crucial spheres where these skills are required in today’s market.


“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James


The 6 Crucial Spheres

Oral Communication

This skill is highly valued in the world of sales and business and yet it is the skill where there is the greatest shortage in terms of mastery. People talk a lot, but oral communication is not just about talking. The successful salesperson needs to be able to connect with his customers and prospects and add value to them. It is not about the sale; it is how the customers feel about the sale. Oral communication is about how well the salesperson builds a relationship with potential customers by discerning his needs and providing helpful information. Above all the relationship – the connection – is where the successful salesperson should place his focus.

Social Media Management

Social media platforms change and evolve but the human need to connect does not. People want to stay in touch and up to date which is what social media allows them to do in a much more immediate way than in the past. Today, businesses want to connect with customers and potential customers. They want to promote their brand and spread their message. This is the new reality of sales – marketing.  A successful salesperson needs to be adept and savvy in social media platforms because they are here to stay and more and more businesses and potential customers are using them as preliminary sources of information.

Business Management

Businesses do not have any time to waste on what they perceive to be unnecessary and unrelated to their business. The successful salesperson will be business savvy, understanding that businesses require clarity, timeliness, and usefulness of the information they are given. The successful salesperson will be well prepared, knowledgeable about prospective business buyers and able to provide information that is applicable to their needs. In essence, he must have a healthy dose of business intelligence. He must manage his sales business as a business and not a hobby.

Decision Management

People do not like to make decisions so they look to the salesperson to help them manage their decision. Sometimes multiple layers of decision-makers are involved as in the case of an employee buying on behalf of his company. Since people do not like to make decisions and they also fear they will make a mistake, the salesperson’s job is to help them through this process by giving them pertinent and useful information as well as answering their questions. Potential customers want to feel reassured and the successful salesperson should be able to reassure customers and instill confidence in them and their purchase.


More and more these days the salesperson is part of a team. Sometimes the salesperson is the one leading the team. A successful salesperson will need to develop a team spirit mindset. He will need to develop excellent communication skills and be involved in personal development on an ongoing basis. He must become relational within a team framework as well as with potential customers. To succeed in the new reality of sales a salesperson must value his team and his relationship with potential customers above making a sale. The essence of leadership is learning what a leader is and does as well as mentoring others to help them become leaders as well. A successful salesperson absolutely needs to develop leadership skills.


“Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell


The 5 Critical Skills

The Ability to Prioritize

Nobody is impressed with a disorganized and overstressed salesperson. He will come across as unprofessional and untrustworthy.  If you want to be successful in sales, you will need to be able to sift through tasks and determine what is essential and what is not. This is how you maintain your focus. A successful salesperson has a triage system – vital, important but not urgent, and low priority. No amount of sales success will come to you if everything is urgent or if nothing is urgent. Your thoughts and tasks must be done in order of importance.

The Ability to Negotiate

Sales involve negotiation and in order to be a good negotiator, you must first know the value of your products and understand how they can bring value to customers. You must also be proficient at detecting the needs of your customers. This is a skill that involves being able to ask the right questions and listen to the customer. You can not be good at negotiating until you are knowledgeable about your products and can determine the needs of the customer in order to be able to show them how your product will add value to them.

The Ability to Serve Well

What is important to the customer is his experience more than the product itself.  The customer wants to know that he was listened to, understood and given enough information to make an informed decision. Serving well includes not only selling but also followup, timely responses to questions, and prompt replies concerning complaints. Customers value flexibility, service, and relationship. The ability to serve well is a skill and a mindset that must be developed if you are to be successful in sales.

 Good Written Communication Skills

No one enjoys receiving written communication with typos and spelling mistakes or poor grammar. There is no excuse for carelessness in writing especially in business communication where clarity is of utmost importance.  A successful salesperson will invest in developing his written communication and proofreading skills. Also, he will work on being clear, and informative in his writing correspondence.  Communication, whether written or oral must be clear and polished. A successful salesperson is a professional in his written communication.

Good Non- Verbal Communication Skills

Most of what we say is not heard, but most of what we communicate through our non-verbal communication cues are perceived and received. It is through the non-verbal cues that we communicate confidence or insecurity, stress or patience, worry or fearlessness.  What we say with our words should align with our body language or the person we are trying to connect with will have difficulty trusting us. A successful salesperson is skilled at being in tune with his non-verbal communication and takes care to line up his words with the non-verbal.  His interest is to come across as friendly and relational.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through