You Need to Learn These Essential Sales Skills Today




Selling is a necessary element of doing business. You need to learn practical selling skills to bring in the cash. Although some people are born with excellent sales skills, most of us need to learn them from school, training, experience, and coaching.

Today, making a successful sale doesn't only happen through direct sellingin-store, and phone calls, but it also happens through social mediaemailmobile, and your website.

Although some are still very traditional, many salespeople are using online resources to meet customer expectations and reach their sales goals.

Now, regardless of what channel you pick to make a sale, it's vital to have sales skills to meet your sales goals.

With that said, I've listed 20 must-have sales skills to help your prospects say "YES!" to working with you.

Here we go!


Active Listening

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

An effective salesperson is a good listener as much as a good talker.

Active listening is more than just hearing what a client is saying. It's about:

  • Listening to a client or customer truly.
  • Paraphrasing the client ’s story.
  • Confirming you listened to the client correctly.
  • Asking relevant, follow-up questions to understand the situation further.

Active listening is what drives a sales conversation to the right conclusion. It requires a strict focus and the ability to ask intelligent follow-up questions.

Here are a few tips to become an active listener:

  • Slow down when talking.
  • Never interrupt a client while talking.
  • Ask appropriate and relevant questions.
  • Always paraphrase and repeat back what they've said to ensure you understand.
  • Listen to emotions through body language, tone of voice, and stress levels.
  • Remember story details and talk about it again later.

We can all agree that a person who knows how to listen actively is more likable, more trustworthy, and easier to build a relationship with - both personal and professional.



Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. - Daniel H. Pink

Empathy is one of the many sales skills that some sales trainers forget to teach. It is about understanding or feeling the experiences of clients from their perspective.

Empathy answers questions like:

  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you feeling?
  • Why are you having these thoughts and feelings?

When you empathize with your clients, then you build real trust and connection with them. Empathy allows you to bond with your clients while understanding their unique challenges, perspectives, and experiences.

Here are a few simple and doable tips on how to empathize with a potential client:

  • Look at the situation from the client’s perspective.
  • Always keep a present mind before, during, and after a client talk.
  • Listen actively.
  • Ask relevant, clarifying questions.
  • Pause before responding.

Establish Credibility

Relationships feed on credibility, honesty, and consistency. - Scott Borchetta

When many people think about salespeople, credibility and sales usually don’t go together. 

It's a hard pill to swallow, but some salespeople are only after making a sale and throw credibility out the window.

If you are new to this industry, never neglect credibility for the sake of making money. Here are a few tips on how to establish credibility during a sales conversation:

  • Always focus on your client's story, problem, situation, need, and want.
  • Pay close attention to your body language.
    Crossing your arms can make you seem defensive.
    Zero eye contact can give the impression you are lying.
    Flicking your pen can make you appear nervous and tense.
  • Always give your client honest tips, recommendations, and content to gain their trust.
  • Always deliver on your promises.
  • Be genuine all the time.

Excellent Communication

Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life. - Brian Tracy

Excellent communication is more than just talking to a client during a sales presentation.

It’s about learning how to communicate more effectively with clients or customers who have different communication styles than you.

Excellent communication leads to more prospects, more productive discussions, and more SALES!

Here are a few secrets to excellent communication:

  • Keep your sales presentation simple and straightforward.
  • Always commit to your promises to avoid problems and confusions later on.
  • Never put your clients on long holds over the phone, via email, or in social media messaging apps.
  • Always include warm greetings to add a more personal touch in every client conversation.

Time Management

You may delay, but time will not. - Benjamin Franklin

If you've been a sales rep for a long time, then you know that every minute counts. It feels like 24 hours in each day is not enough to meet your sales goals.

Time is money, and a minute wasted in sales means lost opportunities - and lost revenue.

Here are some time management tips for salespeople who want to get more things done in less time:

  • Eliminate, automate, or outsource nonessential tasks.
  • Anticipate problems and be prepared to combat them.
  • Use email templates to save time.
  • Never multitask because it's counterproductive.
  • Never delay tasks.
  • Use a winning moment to create another one.
  • Apply your past winning strategy to the next client call.


Storytelling in business is nothing new. The hard part is knowing exactly which stories we need to tell. - Cathy Salit

What do clients or customers love hearing from salespeople? Stories.

In today's sales landscape, most people see right through traditional sales tactics, and STORYTELLING IS KING!

Stories are easy to understand, engaging, and create clarity for potential customers. That's why they are such effective sales tools.

Here are a few tips on how to incorporate storytelling in your sales strategy:

  • Tell factual stories that target both logic and emotion.
  • Don't be afraid to use metaphors in your stories.
  • Your stories must always be relevant to your client's life, problem, situation, want, and need.

Storytelling is also an effective content marketing strategy that can propel you to greater heights, so learn how to craft one!


Problem Solving

Focus on the solution, not on the problem. - Jim Rohn

Excellent problem-solving skills are a requirement in any industry. If you are a small business owner or a sales rep, you need to provide solutions to problems as quickly as possible.

All great salespeople are problem solvers.

Clients are always on the hunt for people who can solve problems effectively and efficiently.

Here are a few problem-solving tips:

  • Identify customer pain points and tailor-fit your solutions.
  • After the client discusses his or her problem, paraphrase it to check for understanding.
  • Understand the client's problem from his or her perspective.
  • Stop selling products or services, sell ideas and solutions instead.
  • Discuss the F-A-B (Features, Benefits, and Advantage) of your product or service.
  • When you don't know the answer to something, say, "I don't know but let me find out."
  • Keep practicing solving issues and make it a regular habit.

Knowledge of What You Sell

Knowledge is power. You can't begin a career, for that matter, even a relationship, unless you know everything there is to know about it. - Randeep Hooda

Have you ever talked to a small business owner or a sales rep who doesn't know anything about what he or she is offering?

How did the conversation go?

Expertise beats likability every time. Sure, you want to be liked by your clients, but expertise is what they want.

You need to have enough knowledge to feed your clients with the information they can use to make a very critical decision - to BUY!

The only tip I can offer in this section is to:

Research! Research! Research!

When you do your research, you become educated about:

  • Industry knowledge
  • Sector knowledge
  • Competitive knowledge
  • Company knowledge
  • Business knowledge


Energy and persistence conquer all things. - Benjamin Franklin

It's not easy to close a deal or make a sale.

There are hurdles in the way of making the sale.

We're all busy bees! More often than not, we don't have the time to talk over the phone or answer emails.

With that said, you can't just give up on closing a deal. You need to be persistent to get that coveted "YES!"

Persistence in sales is a learned skill.

Here's how to be persistent in sales without annoying anybody:

  • Choose the right channel to reach out.
    (email, phone, social media, mail, word of mouth, etc.)
  • Pick an informal channel to build a connection.
    (social media, referrals, over a cup of coffee meeting, etc.)
  • Get in touch with all the people involved in decision making, not just the one prospect.
  • Get your clients' attention with a brief but memorable email or voicemail message.
    (Answer why, why now, and then add a strong call-to-action)
  • Be persistent for a reasonable amount of time.
    (Wait for 48 to 72 hours before you send another email or make another phone call.)
  • Know when it's time to move on.
    (I'd recommend following up between 8-12 times before moving on.)
  • Stay emotionally detached when a client doesn't give you a response at all. It's just another day.


When someone tells me 'no,' it doesn't mean I can't do it, it simply means I can't do it with them. - Karen E. Quinones Miller

A small business needs a determined salesperson. It needs someone who doesn't back down easily. It requires a person who will not give up when faced with problems and setbacks.

Determination, for the most part, is a crucial ingredient in making a successful sale.

Here are a few tips on how to be more determined in sales:

  • Learn from setbacks and never dwell on them. They don't mean anything.
  • When you can't meet your goals, change the clock. Turning the clock means moving the goal from now to someday. "Someday" should be realistic.
  • Define every success by looking at every result.
  • Just keep trying, practicing, testing, etc.


Get the outside eyes and feedback you need to get on the right path with your marketing.

Gain clarity and understanding. You'll leave your discovery call knowing where to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return on your investment.


Open to Change

There is nothing permanent except change. - Heraclitus

As a business owner, I see stuff change all the time. Change is tough; that's why running a small business is hard because things are continually changing.

When your sales team is losing heat, close rates are dropping, and when your sales lead pipeline is empty, change has to happen.

However, even the best people sometimes resist change because they don't want to “rock the boat” when it comes to their daily routine.

Being open to change is essential because it helps improve selling techniques and encourages professional growth.

Here are simple tips to be open to change:

  • Accept the idea of change.
  • Understand that change means progress.
  • Acknowledge that change introduces unknowns to your sales cycle.
  • Be prepared to experience new things that changes bring.
  • Always believe that changes in the sales process can be transformative.
  • Know that a wide array of choices accompanies change.
  • View change as a challenge.
  • Switch your mindset to being adaptable.

Detail Oriented

The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail. - Charles R Swindoll

Salespeople are a lot of things. They're great communicators, hustlers, and persuasive to mention a few.

Although there's one essential sales skill that a salesperson must possess and that's being detail-oriented.

Great attention to detail lets you:

  • Manage your current accounts.
  • Prospect for new business.
  • Help to onboard new clients.
  • Go on sales appointments.
  • All of the other day to day activities.

Here are a few tips to become a more detail-oriented salesperson:

  • Know your role as a sales representative.
  • Develop a system to get your tasks organized.
  • Always take notes or keep a record of all the information you need to perform your tasks.
  • Manage your time wisely.
  • When in doubt, seek help.
  • Conduct regular self-assessments to determine your attention to detail improvement.


For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. - Benjamin Franklin

It's hard to stay focused when you have so much on your plate. In sales, we think about quotas, deadlines, meetings, clients, and so much more.

It's overwhelming, which makes people forget things.

The answer is to organize bits and pieces of your sales tasks.

If you want to succeed in sales, use these tips to help organize your sales life:

  • Make a list of people you need to call every day.
  • Save essential dates on your calendar.
  • All contact information must be available 24/7.
  • Incorporate email templates into your outreach efforts.
  • Create a system that lets you jump on your leads immediately.
  • Always confirm your upcoming meetings.


The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. - Bob Marley

In business or life in general, integrity is a must. It is more important in sales because customers see integrity in everything we do.

Integrity in selling is pretty simple to me; you always do what is in the clients best interest even if it's not in yours.

Here are three simple steps on how to sell with integrity:

  • Create a don’t do list:
    I will not lie.
    I will not exaggerate the truth in any way.
    When I commit a mistake, I will own it and make it right.
    I will not steal.
    I will not jeopardize what I believe to be right, regardless of the situation.
  • Be authentic because it naturally attracts people.
  • Follow through with what you say and make sure your claims about your product or service are accurate.

Positive Mindset

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. - Stephen King

By this time, you already know that the sales world is imperfect and can seem tough and uninviting at times. It can also be very discouraging.

What you need to keep your head up in the face of adversity is a positive mindset.

A positive mindset is a state of mind that focuses on the bright side, anticipates positive results, and deals with challenges in business, or life in general, with a positive outlook.

Having a positive mindset is essential in our day-to-day business operation. It can help bring better results. It can make us very happy and extremely satisfied with whatever field we choose.

Here a few tips for a positive mindset:

  • Use daily affirmations.
  • Don't take sales related stuff too seriously.
  • Learn from sales setbacks and move on.
  • Have a present mind 100% of the time.
  • Be thankful for all your successes.


Have confidence that if you have done a little thing well, you can do a bigger thing well too. – David Storey

If you are not confident, you'll never be able to sell anything in your life.

Confidence is one of the most crucial selling skills to get better results. Your clients will base their decisions by how confident you are. You come across unaware, timid, and unsure if you are not self-confident.

Here are tips on how to build confidence in sales:

  • Know your strengths and work to develop them.
  • Surround yourself with successful, goal-oriented people.
  • Learn from and replicate the success of your leaders, mentors, and sales managers.
  • Be a subject matter expert in all your sales processes.
  • Always keep an open mind.


I think that being perceptive and having interests is nothing but an asset. - Ashley Judd

Perceptive selling is about your ability to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues. Some call it "reading between the lines."

Here's a three-step process on how to become better at perceptive selling:

  • Step 1: Recognize that you may be a terrible perceptive listener.
  • Step 2: Always personalize a sales presentation by asking clarifying questions.
  • Step 3: Keep an ear out for verbal and nonverbal cues and provide a more tailor-fitted solution.

Build Rapport Quickly

Building trust & rapport. Trust and rapport are the heartbeat of business, the backbone of high performing teams, and the secret sauce for healthy relationships. - Susan C. Young

In sales, you need someone who can build rapport in an instant.

Why? Because building rapport puts people at ease.

However, building rapport doesn't mean talking too much or being talkative without letting the other person digest all the information.

Building rapport means building a genuine connection and trust by:

  • Finding common ground as quickly as possible.
  • Matching your voice with the client's voice.
  • Matching your vibe with the vibe of clients.
  • Breaking the pattern of what the clients expect you to do.
  • Focusing on the clients because all they care about is themselves.
  • Paraphrasing the client's concerns.
  • Engaging with clients during a conversation consistently.

Relationship Builder

Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows. - Ben Stein

The sales industry thrives because of relationships or connections.

A salesperson who knows how to build a strong business relationship is a keeper. Remember that!

Here are simple tips for building and maintaining strong and healthy relationships:

  • Listen. Pay attention to what your clients are saying and ask questions.
  • Seek feedback. Let clients be part of the conversation by asking what they think about your offer.
  • Use social media to discover their interests. Learn about what posts they link on Facebook. It's a great way to create a bond.
  • Respond promptly. It will make clients feel important and valued.
  • Always add value. It might be a solution, a fresh perspective, a free pen, a relevant blog link, etc.


A good laugh makes any interview, or any conversation, so much better. - Barbara Walters

A sales conversation is just like any other conversation. We all need a good laugh to make it through.

Lighten up, and you'll make your client feel comfortable.

The right amount of humor won't hurt. Include a meme in your email or crack a joke over the phone, and you might make a client feel a lot better.

Other tips to remember:

  • If you don’t consider yourself funny, learn how to be.
  • A few minutes of laughter will get you through the day.
  • Use self-deprecating humor.

And that's it, folks! Those are the essential sales skills you must learn today.

So what do you think about these selling skills? Are you ready to start selling more today?

Let me know in the comments section below.

If you know someone who needs to step up their sales game, feel free to SHARE this article.


Get the outside eyes and feedback you need to get on the right path with your marketing.

Gain clarity and understanding. You'll leave your discovery call knowing where to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return on your investment.

Header courtesy of Pexels.

About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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