12 Important ‘Soft’ Sales Skills

Peady’s Selling Engagement

To know how successful a salesperson is – just look at their numbers. But understanding whythey’re succeeding is a lot trickier.

In my opinion selling success is a reflection of two things: 

  1. The strength of their hard skills
  2. The strength of their soft skills

In my last post I described the top 14 ‘Hard’ Skills that a successful salesperson needs to succeed. I also mentioned that there are some critical ‘Soft’ Skills with equal importance.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

The market is making it clear they want sales professionals who can master the less-quantifiable business skills. These skills are harder to define and quantify, but they are key to driving business.

And unlike ‘hard’ selling skills, which are relatively easy to teach and measure, soft skills are sometimes ‘fuzzy’.

What are soft skills?

They include a salesperson’s ability to relate and communicate with others, emotional intelligence, level of relatability and confidence. Some would call them people skills.

In truth calling them soft skills doesn’t emphasise their place in the selling process and value to closing sales. You can think of them as personal skills or attributes people can cultivate to relate better to others. Some experts include personality traits in their list of soft skills, while others define it a little more narrowly.



So, what do they look like?

My top 12 ‘soft’ skills:

  1. Growth-minded or growth focussed
  2. Optimistic – glass half full attitude
  3. High EQ or empathy quotient – emotionally intelligent or relatable
  4. Coachable and trainable – keen to learn 
  5. Strong communicator (oral/written)
  6. Active listener
  7. A problem solver (one size doesn’t fit all)
  8. Innately curious
  9. Enjoys teamwork, but a self-starter
  10. Decisive, yet flexible and adaptable
  11. Humble and modest
  12. Resilient and perseveres against the odds

Even, mastering just a few of these soft skills can be enough to shape an entire career. But, unlike ‘hard’ skills some of these are difficult to learn – skills like curiosity, drive, and confidence can’t be taught, but they can be developed. 

If you pick one to focus on every month and figure out what habits are associated with it, you can create tremendous positive change. This will not only improve your career; it can transform your life.

To truly excel at sales, don’t neglect the soft skills. Develop them and they’ll turn you into a true asset to your company and maybe into a sales superstar.

​Until next week, good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]