5 Underrated Sales Skills

RepVue Team
RepVue TeamJun 21, 2024

Sales isn’t just about hitting targets and closing deals. It’s about understanding people, adapting to situations, and thinking creatively to solve problems. While many sellers hoping to improve may focus on their persuasive skills, there are some underrated abilities that can make a huge difference. 

Let’s dive into five often-overlooked sales skills. These skills might not always be in the spotlight, but mastering them can set you apart and lead to real success. Take a closer look at how these underrated skills can enhance your sales approach.

1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an underrated sales skill that can make a big difference in closing deals. 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage, and use your own emotions positively to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. It also involves recognizing and influencing the emotions of people around you.

Sales professionals with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to connect with customers and understand their needs.

Want to learn more? Check out our Intro to the Psychology of Sales.

Empathy in Sales Conversations

Empathy is a key component of emotional intelligence. In sales, empathy means understanding your customer’s perspective and needs. By putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can better tailor your approach and offer solutions that meet the customer’s specific needs.

To demonstrate empathy in sales conversations, salespeople should actively listen to the customer (more on that below) and ask open-ended questions to gain a better understanding of their situation. They should also avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions about the customer’s needs.

Self-Regulation and Sales Success

Another important aspect of emotional intelligence in sales is self-regulation. This means being able to manage your own emotions and reactions in order to stay focused on the customer’s needs and goals.  Sometimes that means not getting too frustrated after you get hung up on for the 10th time that day.  Other times it means staying focused when you finally close that big deal.

Salespeople with strong self-regulation skills are better equipped to handle rejection and stay motivated in the face of challenges. They are also able to stay calm and focused during high-pressure sales situations, which can help them make better decisions and close more deals.

2. Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial skill for any sales professional. It involves fully engaging with the customer, understanding their needs, and responding appropriately. By actively listening, salespeople can build rapport, gain trust, and ultimately close more deals.

Engaging Customer Responses

One key aspect of active listening is engaging with customer responses. This means not only hearing what the customer is saying, but also responding in a way that shows you are paying attention. This can include nodding, maintaining eye contact, and asking follow-up questions.

Sales professionals who engage with customer responses are more likely to build rapport and establish a connection with the customer. This can lead to a more productive conversation, and ultimately a better chance of closing the deal.

Reading Between the Lines

Active listening also involves reading between the lines. This means paying attention to not only what the customer is saying, but also what they are not saying. By understanding the customer’s tone, body language, and other nonverbal cues, sales professionals can gain a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs.

Salespeople who are skilled at reading between the lines are better able to tailor their approach to the customer’s specific needs. This can lead to a more productive conversation, and ultimately a better chance of closing the deal.

3. Adaptability

Adaptability is one of the most underrated sales skills. Salespeople have to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, shifting sales strategies, and unexpected objections.

Shifting Sales Strategies

Sales strategies that worked well in the past may not work in the present. A salesperson must be able to identify when a sales strategy is not working and be willing to shift to a new strategy. Being adaptable allows a salesperson to change their approach and try new things to find what works best for each unique customer.

Handling Unexpected Objections

Unexpected objections can throw a salesperson off their game. However, an adaptable salesperson can handle unexpected objections with ease. They can think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to overcome objections.

A salesperson who is adaptable can assess their mindset, learn from others, experiment and test, and reflect and adjust. By being adaptable, you can keep up with changes in customer needs and remain relevant and competitive.

4. Creative Problem-Solving

Creative problem-solving is an essential skill for sales professionals looking to differentiate themselves from the competition. It involves finding unique solutions to problems and thinking outside the box to come up with innovative approaches to common challenges.

Innovative Product Positioning

Innovative product positioning involves finding new and unique ways to position a product or service in the market. This can be achieved by identifying gaps in the market and developing products or services that fill those gaps. It can also involve finding new and creative uses for existing products or services.

Identify areas where your product or service can add value and stand out from the competition. By positioning your product or service in a unique way, you can differentiate yourself from other salespeople (even within your team and company!) and increase your success.

Tailoring Solutions to Customer Needs

Tailoring solutions to your prospects’ or customers’ needs is another important aspect of creative problem-solving in sales. It involves understanding the unique needs and preferences of each customer and developing solutions that meet those needs. This can involve customizing products or services to meet specific requirements or developing entirely new solutions that address specific pain points.

To tailor solutions to customer needs, you need to be skilled at active listening and asking the right questions. By understanding the unique needs of each customer, you can develop solutions that are more likely to be successful. This can help build stronger relationships with customers and increase the likelihood of repeat business.

5. Building Trust

Sales is all about building trust with customers. Without trust, customers are unlikely to buy from a company. Therefore, it is essential for salespeople to develop trust-building skills. In this section, we will discuss two key skills that are often underrated but very important in building trust.

Consistency and Reliability

One of the most important ways to build trust is by being consistent and reliable. Customers want to know that they can count on a company to deliver on its promises. This means that salespeople need to be consistent in their communication, follow-up, and delivery of products or services. They should always do what they say they will do and ensure that their actions align with their words.

To achieve consistency and reliability, you should establish clear expectations with customers. They should communicate what you will do, when you will do it, and how you will do it. This can be done through a variety of means, such as email, phone calls, or in-person meetings. You should also be proactive in keeping customers informed of any changes or delays.

Transparency in Sales Processes

Transparency is another key factor in building trust. Customers want to know that they are dealing with a company that is honest and transparent in its sales processes. Salespeople should be upfront with customers about pricing, terms, and conditions. They should also be willing to answer any questions that customers may have.

To be transparent, you should avoid using high-pressure sales tactics or hiding information from customers. You should be open and honest about what you’re selling and how it can benefit the customer. You should also be willing to admit when you don’t know the answer to a question and follow up with the customer later.

The Best Reps are Well-Rounded

Recognizing and developing underrated sales skills can be a game-changer in your career. These skills, while often overlooked, provide the foundation for more effective and meaningful interactions with clients. 

By focusing on areas like emotional intelligence, active listening, adaptability, creative problem-solving, and building trust, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and foster stronger, more resilient customer relationships. Cultivating these abilities not only enhances your sales performance but also contributes to personal growth and long-term success in the industry.

What do you think? Are these the most underrated sales skills?

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