Five Skills Every Sales Professional Needs in 2014

Joe Weinlick
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As technology develops and changes the business practices, sales professionals must also adapt or be left behind. By keeping pace with changing devices and changing customer buying habits, you can ensure that your sales skills are up-to-date and effective.


Technology has taken over many tasks that were once performed by salespeople. Lead generation services find potential leads, organized and narrowed by a seemingly endless array of criteria. Consumers handle much of their product research online, meaning that salespeople come in later in the process. In fact, research shows that 81 percent of consumers research products online before making major purchases. Because you have less time with customers and because they are often well-informed, communication is key. If you have one chance to secure a customer, you must be able to create a connection, convince him that you provide the best possible service and keep him interested enough to continue the conversation.

Agility With Technology

Modern consumers are highly connected to their personal and professional technology products. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, in January of 2014, 58 percent of American adults owned a smart phone, and 42 percent owned a tablet computer. What is more, 44 percent admitted to sleeping with their phones by the bed in order to stay on top of updates. For technologically averse salespeople, these figures should be a wake-up call. In order to understand consumers and reach out to them on the most-used platforms, you must be able to keep up with the latest in technology.


The advent of "big data" means that endless information is available to you. To be successful, you must know how to conduct research to track down the most qualified leads before another salesperson steps in. Whether you are working with data analysis companies, lead generators or demographic information, research helps you to wade through the piles of data to find what you need. In 2014, when data analysis services are still relatively young, the ability to research is one of the top sales skills.

Relationship Building

In 2014, technology often precludes relationship or, at the very least, makes them more challenging. Take one glance at a normal group of teenagers and you notice that they often spend more time looking down at their phones than at each other. Though relationship building has always been among the most important sales skills, it is even more important in the current climate. When you can make memorable personal connections, you can create a unique experience for customers and develop the ever-elusive brand loyalty.


Resilience is one of the most important sales skills to master, particularly if you want a long and successful career in the field. Without it, every "no" is a heartbreak that weakens your motivation and ability to keep selling. Most sales professionals do not become resilient overnight; they learn it slowly and painfully until rejections are no longer personal. As long as salespeople are still employed, the ability to bounce back with enthusiasm is one of the most crucial sales skills.

The sales process has evolved throughout the years, sweeping salespeople along with it. By developing new skills and refining your traditional sales skills for use in the modern sales climate, you can boost profits and avoid becoming obsolete.

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  • Kelli Watson
    Kelli Watson

    The Internet Sales Environment changes weekly!! We absolutely must keep our minds open to changing stats, research being key, and the ability to respond quickly and personally is an absolute MUST. For every 1 No, strive for 10 yes's. Keep the faith.

  • Ricky H.
    Ricky H.

    Absolutely true. Learning new lessons everyday about how to keep in touch with customers/potential customers through electronic/social media is a must for success.

  • K. Michael Cooper
    K. Michael Cooper

    Right on, Robert W.


    No doubt that the traditional role of a " sales professional" has evolved to a level where many of the primary skills need to be centered on " computer and online applications" . However, as important and necessary as these skills have become in order to keep up with your competition , the ultimate goal is still to have the intrinsic skills to deal with people face to face in order to not only " close the deal" but to re-assure your new customer that you will physically be there to follow up and provide excellent support and service after the initial deal is made . These are still and hopefully will always be the essential factors towards developing and maintaining a successful career in sales.

  • Melvin E.
    Melvin E.

    Thank for posting Joe W., good summary of needed skills in today's market

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