The Most Important Sales Skills for 2013

Posted by

It's hard to believe that it's almost New Year's Eve. 2012 has been a great year and has seen many changes in the way that we do business. This year, more company's have joined social networking sites and have begun the process of changing how they interact with their customers. This coming year will bring even more changes and advances.


I thought that this was the perfect time to talk about the sales skills that are going to be important in the coming year. As companies fine-tune their online presence and continue to develop their brand identity and corporate culture there are some skills that they will be on the look out for.


Here are the most important sales skills for 2013:


Communication skills – According to an article at Harvard Business Review, in 2013, sales based language will become even more important. As many companies are making the change from in-person sales to internet and phone sales calls, how you say what you say will become even more important. Because many sales people will have a strong social media presence and be easily reached by phone, text, email and instant messenger, many people who work in sales will run the risk of “technology fatigue”. The challenge will be to learn to balance work and home life with the challenges of being more reachable than ever.


More concentrated technology skills – In addition to being able to navigate the world of smartphones and social media, today's sales force will also be subjected to greater analysis of their sales routes and client list, making them more productive and profitable. Over the next year, salespeople will find that it's simpler to use a computer program to help them structure their work week rather than manage their schedules themselves.


Decision making – As a greater number of the sales force will be making the shift to telecommuting or working from a home office, there will be an increased need for good decision making skills. Finding ways to streamline processes and determine where to spend time and resources will be crucial this year.


Relationship building – Of all of the skills that a salesperson will need this coming year, none are going to be as important as the “soft skill” of building relationships with customers. These days, it's easier than ever for a customer to buy what they need online rather than work with a salesperson. The reason that they don't is because of the personal relationship and trust that they build with their representative. Now that most companies have a social media presence, customers are going to expect a higher level of engagement and personal attention than ever before.


Becoming a “specialist” or “expert” - This coming year it will be even more important to have an area of expertise. People want to buy from an expert and setting yourself apart as a leader in the industry will give your career a huge boost. You can do this by networking with others who work in the industry you sell products for or by starting a blog that deals with products and solutions for industry specific issues. By creating a social media presence that assists customers, you will stand out as the “go-to” person.


Building customer trust – This goes hand in hand with becoming an expert and building relationships, but I felt that it deserved it's own category. Customers are being flooded with so much information, from product reviews to easy comparison shopping that salespeople will be faced with the challenge of building trust through transparency. The days of the hard sell have come to a close and customers want all of the information before they make a decision. For most consumers, trust is the biggest reason for buying a product from a specific company. In addition, a recent survey from Concerto Marketing Group found that when people trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend it to others and 82 percent will use the brand frequently. The best way to earn consumer trust is by making an emotional connection through openness. Customers want to work with a company that speaks truthfully, does what they say they're going to do and doesn't make outlandish claims or exaggerations.


Many of the skills that will be essential for salespeople in 2013 have to do with interpersonal skills and building relationships – and it's no coincidence. This coming year will bring an even larger increase in the level of personal interaction between businesses and their customers.


What other skills do you think will be important in the coming year? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Photo Source: MorgueFile


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    You're right, Kenneth. Communication skills are very important. Without strong skills, it's a challenge to understand what is needed, what other people think and even how success is measured.
  • Kenneth D
    Kenneth D
    Communicating is going to be a real asset for sales people to make sure that they have a clear line of communication to increase strong connections.
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the great comments! @Duane - You're right, empathy really goes a long way toward building strong relationships. @James - Thank you. I'll work a new article that will go more in depth about building a social media presence to help build sales.
  • John S
    John S
          Businesses that have good customer service will make a profit above the norm. If they choose not to have customer service they will not be around long.
  • Reta R
    Reta R
    I have read all that you have sent me and will be using the skills in the near future!
  • Tom K
    Tom K
    Our currency for tomorrow is the intelligence we create today!
  • Paul K
    Paul K
    I thought the article was very true and enlightining.
  • Duane C
    Duane C
    Excellent article! Consultative sales have been the trend for the last 20 years or so and have now become the standard venue regardless of your particular product or service.Empathy towards your prospects is part of this process also.
  • Michael L
    Michael L
    In 2013 get to know some ideology of the customer or buyer -personal little things and if he or she allows that you've built something good - almost a friend.  
  • Byron K
    Byron K
    Great Article
  • Richard A
    Richard A
    i think you covered it very well, thanks for the reminder
  • James S
    James S
    Ms. Kennedy,Thank you for your article and insights.  If you are planning future articles, please expand on your ideas relating to establishing a strong media presence and I would like to understand better what you meant by having a computer program manage my schedule.Thanks,Jim
  • Timothy Z
    Timothy Z
    Nice job.  It was a great article, but points that we should always keep in mind.We all need a little luck in this day & time.
  • David M
    David M
    Excellent, Very Good, Loved it
  • Glen K
    Glen K
    Unfortunately, there are many companies out there that place little or no value on relationship building.They change sales personnel like dirty socks thinking such change will enhance their success.To their loss, these companies lose valuable image and wonder later, after losing millions or dollars in sales, what went wrong when we could have given them advice that was ignored. everyone loses, including buyers who wind up buying the wrong products to their eventual disappointment.I know through personal experience with such companies who eventually came back to receive the benefits they formerly threw away.
  • Ali E
    Ali E
    No doubt, these thoughts are very useful in the field of sales & marketing. The means of technologies now a days are playing an important role at increasing the business output. In your above topic you didn't mention the character of the sale person who represent the angle stone the successful of sales increasing. What are the modern  distinguishes of salesmen?  

Jobs to Watch