So you think you know sales. You’re the one who can light up a room and convince anyone to make a buying decision with a couple of handshakes and a witty line. Now take the physical room away. Take  the in-person conversation away. Take the ability to shake a hand away. And now add in some spotty wifi right as you’re about to hit them with that zinger. We’re living in a digital world, and you’re still expected to crush sales goals. Doesn’t sound so easy now, does it?

As the workplace environment continues to evolve into more hybrid environments, the way we sell has changed. The skill it takes to sell in any environment isn’t as obvious anymore. Sure, there are some tried and true skills it takes that will never change, but what’s that phrase? Adapt or die? Okay, it’s a little dramatic, but the sentiment rings true. It’s time to improve your sales skills and maybe even learn a couple of new ones. 

How to Improve Sales Skills: Tried & True Methods That Will Never Change

  1. Effective communication
    1. This is a non-negotiable for sales people. Whether communicating through email, social media, a presentation, in person, or across an online platform, sales reps should always be improving their communication skills. 
      1. How to improve this sales skill: 
        1. Streamline your talk track and use relatable words and stories.
        2. Further connect with people personally since everyone has felt distanced through the pandemic.
        3. Invest in yourself. Conferences are virtual and easier than ever to attend!
  2. Expert knowledge of your product or service (and more importantly, your buyer persona)
    1. Now this is something you can't cut corners on. People will see right through you if you don't know your product and can't speak to its value. As the person on the front lines, you have to effectively communicate the value and benefit (not just features and functions) and expect the unexpected when it comes to questions that might be asked. It’s also important to know what product or service NOT to sell to a potential buyer if it’s not the right fit.
  3. Negotiation skills 
    1. In a perfect world, all prospective customers would eat up the sales pitch and buy right after your closing statement. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Buyers often end up with questions, objections, the “we-don’t-have-budget-for-that right now” play, counter offers, and negotiations before the dotted line is ever signed. It’s important to always improve sales skills with the power of confident negotiation.
  4. Prospecting
    1. Sometimes prospecting can feel like the hardest part of a sales position. It’s time consuming and tedious for those who don’t know what they’re doing. Researching and focusing on qualified leads can lead to less time spent searching and more time spent closing. 
      1. How to improve this sales skill:
        1. Start with your buyer persona. The more you understand who you’re targeting, the less time you spend weeding through potential wrong fits.
  5. Problem solving
    1. One of the biggest jobs you have as a sales professional is solving a problem for potential buyers. This is why sharpening your problem-solving skills, often on your feet in front of the prospect, is essential. Improving this sales skill can lead to better predictions of outcomes and future problems before they arise. 

New ways to improve sales skills:


While onsite visits may still happen, we have all learned that the world can change in an instant. Sales skills were commonly tested in person, and it wasn’t hard to spot exactly who the salesperson was. Typically the center of attention, commanding any room he/she was in, that is potentially behind us now. All salespeople should be prepared to develop and sharpen new skills in the age of digital selling, and this includes learning how to command a digital room. Whether it’s keeping attention, navigating bad connections, gaining tips and tricks on how to make the experience more personal, sales professionals are always learning to roll with the punches. 

Active Listening:

Active listening. No one is trying to be talked at, especially when the decision lies in their hands. This can be especially hard to do if you’re trapped in a zoom room with potential technical issues. It becomes extremely easy to talk over someone, to lose connection, and to seem a little less personal. Active listening and problem solving will make all the difference in the potential buyer’s experience, (which means turning off notifications because people know if you’re multitasking and not fully engaged). 

Asking the Right Questions:

Ask the right questions, and talk to the right people. If you’ve nailed down some of the more classic sales skills such as problem solving and prospecting, this one is the next step. 

It’s important to fully understand who it is that you’re talking to and, to the best of your ability, predict what questions may be asked before a prospect ever asks them. It’s also important to ask the prospects about their company, their goals, their needs, and what the product and service could do for them. Instead of telling them you have the solution up front, get curious—lead them down a path so they realize they can save time, make more money, or empower their team better by choosing you. Always maintain a level of expertise in the product or service you’re selling, but make sure they know that you’re invested in their business and ready to solve for their biggest problems.


Looking to the Future of Sales

The sales world has changed, but the basis of good selling will forever stay the same. Don’t get too caught up in the words “new normal.” All it takes is a little extra sales coaching and learning to get up to speed and continue to crush those goals. 


Download the free sales coaching template to improve your sales skills today. 

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