5 Sales Skills Hiring Managers Struggle to Find?

It can be a challenge in itself to find a relevant job that matches your unique set of skills. Believe it or not, sometimes hiring managers have a challenging time finding those unique skills—especially when it comes to the sales field.

In fact, some may say the field of sales has hit a crisis point. Michael Smith, a Blue Ridge Partners managing director, told Forbes he’s witnessed companies consistently fail to keep pace with industry growth “almost entirely due to their inability to attract and retain sales talent. In Silicon Valley, it is not unusual for firms to lose 25 percent or more of their sellers every quarter.”

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So what sales skills are hiring managers desperate to find? Surprisingly, it is often the soft skills that come out on top. Read on to find out what you might want to brush up on during your sales job journey.

1. You are open to instruction

The truth is each company is different and would ideally like to mold you into exactly the type of salesperson that fits that company’s work model. But this is not an idea that appeals to everyone. Are you willing and able to learn quickly? Do you take instruction and constructive criticism well (aka: without getting offended or holding grudges)? If so, you are likely to be put on the top of any sales office’s dream team.

2. You know how to listen

When people think of sales, a fast-talking charmer often comes to mind. But many people don’t realize how much listening is actually involved when selling a product or service. Being able to quietly listen allows potential clients to reveal the problems or issues they have been experiencing—and really good listeners can pick up on exactly what they might need (even if it is not what you thought they needed at the beginning of your meeting). The ability to not interrupt someone—even if a client is in the midst of a long, winding story—is a skill that a surprisingly few people actually possess.

3. You have solid communication skills

Going hand-in-hand with listening is the art of communicating. This includes both verbal and written forms, from writing proposals and emails to speaking confidently and knowledgeably about your product or service. Can you talk without an excessive number of “ums” and “likes” peppering your speech? Can you write a presentation without a distracting number of typos and grammar mistakes? Do not underestimate the power of details.

4. You know how to conduct research

While much of the sales industry requires speaking and communicating with potential clients, the less glamorous (and people-oriented) side of sales requires a copious amount of research. Not only must you take an in-depth look at your customer base, but you must also delve into the market as a whole. Keeping up with growing trends on a regular basis—as well as how the competition ranks in terms of their offerings—requires a whole lot of patience and some solid research skills that can be hard to find.

5. You are familiar with rejection

This may seem like a strange skill for hiring managers to want, but rejection is all in a days’ work for a salesperson. Not every potential client is going to want what you are selling. The ability to accept rejection with grace is vital for a successful salesperson. Someone who takes rejection personally, or who becomes easily demoralized by repeated rejections, will likely not last long in a sales position. Of course, disappointment is natural. But the ability and desire to get up and try again is what differentiates a person who will find sales miserable from one who thrives in competition.

Certain skills are timeless and will always be in demand. Luckily, many of those skills also happen to be what make great salesperson—and with so many companies looking to hire in the sales field, the opportunity to make your mark is more open than ever.

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