Most sales training programs focus on improving the specific selling knowledge and capabilities that the sales representatives need. These refer to the hard skills that are the foundation of sales. On the other hand, soft skills are equally important as they equip sales professionals to perform more in encouraging customers to do business with your company. Soft sales skills help a rep tap into the emotions of a buyer, become their trusted advisor, and influence their buying decisions.
Communication is about 80% non-verbal. While you can clearly convey a message with a confident tone, a rep can still fail because of their body language, such as slouching or leaning back quite too far while sitting. Sales reps can lose a deal fast due to an unintentional eye roll, yawn, or a look of disinterest. Effective body language is vital to developing strong connections with the customers, especially during critical moments.
Top sales performers can turn complex topics into clear and straightforward explanations. These people do not use filler words and avoid mincing them. They do not interrupt their prospects, and they do not mumble when talking. They are professional, polite, and helpful. They capture the attention of their listeners by minimizing complicated figures, data, and facts.
Tone of Voice
The best sales representatives know when to speed up or slow down their explanations and demonstrations. They are aware that something about their pitch is not resonating well; thus, they proceed to the next topic quickly. A top performer always maintains a polite and friendly demeanor to avoid falling short of reaching the sales goals, and their tone of voice has a lot to do with this.
Soft skills that help close deals
If a top-performing rep is excellent at handling relationships, they know how to:
- Build positive relationships with prospects and the rest of the sales team
- Remember important details of past conversations and take action on them.
- Build rapport with customers
- Follow up transactions at the right time.
If a rep is a great communicator:
- They are professional, clear, and positive during conversations.
- They have an outstanding level of written and verbal communication.
- They have few or no conflicts with customers.
A sales rep who is a team player can:
- Collaborate with others on projects with the best interests of the company in mind
- Work not only for their own quotas but through shared goals.
- Help and support other sales team members, proactively.
Sales reps need to receive coaching and practice their craft continuously. Successful training programs use video practice activities to reinforce the execution of soft sales skills. These include:
- Providing sales reps with feedback from managers, trainers, and peers regarding their soft skills
- Giving tangible examples that they can model, such as non-verbal behavior and ideal tone.
- Allowing them to record and then see themselves delivering a message or reacting to a specific sales scenario
- Giving them time to practice and record their presentations in private to enable self-reflection
Hard skills are essential, but businesses that disregard soft skills will likely incur negative consequences in their sales rep’s performance. If your company maintains the fundamentals of sales techniques and improves your team’s ability to execute the soft aspect of sales, this will give you a leg up on your competitors.