The Top 10 Skills Every Sales Professional Needs

I’ve coached many business owners and sales people throughout the years. From individual salespeople to large sales teams, there are 10 skills that every business owner and certainly every sales professional needs to continue to develop and refine. Here they are:

Overcoming Mindset

To be successful you must have a positive, optimistic, can-do mindset. You’ve got to be able to identify and overcome limiting beliefs. This is usually our biggest barrier to exceptional performance! Everything starts here. If you believe that you are selling with a noble purpose, you will be more successful.

Goal-Setting and Time Management

You must be a self-motivated goal-setter to excel in sales. But you also must be able to prioritize your time around your goals. Too many salespeople aren’t disciplined with meeting goals or managing their days and calendars. If you want to get ahead, you’ve got to be disciplined enough to make this a priority.

Lead Generation

This is everything you do to open the door for new opportunities. All of your marketing activity should result in lead generation! How do you generate leads? Online? Cold-calling? Referrals? Networking? Seminars or workshops?


This is actually a sub-set of Lead Generation. However, this is a very specialized type of lead generation. Prospecting is focused and channeled marketing activity to penetrate a specific company, industry, or market niche. While generally, lead generation is “one to many,” prospecting is generally “one to one” or “one to a very few.”

Sales Process

The most successful salespeople see their selling as a system or process. They know their process and they work their process. Sometimes they refer to this as their “pipeline” or their “funnel.” But this is the “way” they make sales happen. They have documented a set of behaviors that lead to a predictable outcome.

Selling Conversation

This is the heart of selling. The key to a good selling conversation is the ability to ask good questions! We call these “power” questions. They are questions which help the prospect (and you) understand their needs and feel the impact of those needs. Good questions lead to emotion, and people buy on emotion while justifying with logic.

Presentation & Close

I am not a “hard” closer! My experience tells me that a good selling conversation that puts the prospect in touch with their need (i.e. their pain), followed by a concise and relevant presentation, will lead to an easy close. I don’t typically talk much about “handling objections.” This is something you will hear about in traditional sales training. If you’ve experienced many objections, you simply have not had a potent enough selling conversation,  your presentation has not been well crafted, or your prospect just doesn’t really need what you are presenting.

Relationship Management

All throughout the sales process is relationship management. I advocate relationship selling! So you must be intentional about how you manage your relationships with your prospects, your clients, and your referral sources. To me, it’s all about the relationships. Have a plan on how you will manage those relationships.

Metrics and Tracking

You must track and measure all of your activity, just like you should be tracking and measuring your marketing dollars. By tracking your metrics you will learn quickly what to do and what not to do with your time. You will be able to set and achieve goals. You will be able to improve. Remember, if you don’t measure it you can’t improve it! Use a good CRM to make this easier and more efficient.

Referral Strategy

The best sales professionals have an intentional referral marketing strategy, beginning with their current customers, their past customers, and their strategic partners.

If you master these 10 skills you will become a highly successful sales professional. For more help, contact us so we can help you get the results you’re looking for in your sales.

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Glenn Smith is a sought-after Executive Coach with over two decades of experience. Recognized for his strategic insights and leadership training, Glenn has been a guiding force for more than a hundred successful small to mid-sized businesses. Merging data-driven strategies with profound insights into human behavior, he aids business owners and executives in realizing their fullest potential. A respected thought leader, Glenn has contributed to numerous business publications and is a popular keynote speaker. Outside his professional realm, Glenn cherishes family time and outdoor activities. He is a pilot with over 30 years of flight experience. He is also a professionally trained gunsmith and a firearms instructor. His dedication to fostering leadership and driving transformative change marks him as a premier figure in executive coaching.


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