Key skills required for a  career in sales

Key skills required for a career in sales

Sales and marketing is a fundamental part of every industry, no matter what your interest. Think about it, even football teams need to make sales through tickets and merchandising, etc. It is for this reason that sales jobs are not only popular but usually a common job found on the market – best of all, it could mean a large salary and even take you across the country. This all sounds great, especially if you are looking for a job, however not everyone is cut out for a career in sales. Many people take a sales job because they think it will be easy but let me tell you they are anything but easy! Where most people fail is that they lack the key fundamental skills required for selling and as such are unable to keep up with the demands in such a fast paced career. Here at Discuss, we got thinking about what key skills are needed to flourish in this sector.

Communication skills

Definitely worthy of the top spot is communication skills. For a career in sales you need to be able to communicate well both written and orally. There is no good having the gift of the gab if you can’t write out an email confirming the sale. You may be required to make presentations along with sales pitches so being able to get your point across in a clear and concise manner is essential.

Customer service skills

A quality linked closely to communication skills is customer service. Having good customer service is mandatory for this type of job as you will be dealing with the public. Good customer service skills will not only help ensure you that all important sale but will keep your customers happy – in turn they may buy more! Win, win!

Time management skills

Being able to manage your time effectively could be the difference between landing that all important client and not meeting your sales targets. Having good time management skills will allow you to plan out your day efficiently, so that you are able to complete all the tasks required . The higher up you become in a sales position the more important your time management skills become.

Empathy with the client

Having empathy with the client will take you a long way in this kind of business. Being able to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and seeing things from their point of view will allow you to understand what product/service would be most suitable for them. This will hopefully meet their needs whilst helping you achieve your sales target.

Reading the customer

Alongside having empathy it is essential that a sales person is capable of reading the customer. It is no good spending over an hour with a customer who isn’t interested in purchasing, you’ll only be wasting your time! Being able to understand human tells would definitely work to your advantage in this type of career. One thing you must be aware of is to not judge too quickly. For example you might find those who aren’t dressed overly flashy have the most amount of money to spend.

Relationship building skills

Possessing relationship building skills is something that will pay off long term. Taking the time to develop a relationship with a customer will help them trust you more and as such will encourage future sales. Not only will the customer want to buy from you in the future, but if they are really happy with the service that you are providing they may recommend you to their friends and family.

Ability to work well under pressure

Now this one is definitely important. A career in sales is known for being highly stressful. Not only do you have specific targets that you have to meet but if you are paid solely on commission it could be the difference between having dinner on the table and not! Okay, perhaps not quite that extreme, but if you are someone who cracks under pressure this is definitely a skill that you would need to develop to sell to your full potential.


Obviously the skills listened above are just a few of the soft skills required for a career in sales. If you are interested in finding out more about skills required for a career in sales or in developing your skills why not take a look at our Sales and Marketing courses.