Sales Representative Skills are a critical set of abilities that are necessary for any individual in a sales role to succeed. Every sales representative is different. Each person is unique with different backgrounds, strengths, and pain points.

When sales reps make an effort to develop essential sales skills every sales team needs they will often find greater success in reaching sales targets.

These skills are just as varied as the sales representatives themselves. Some attributes trend toward basic communication skills while others focus on relationship-building that will assist customers.

Some sales representative jobs require certain technical skills that will directly or indirectly improve customer sales.

Let’s examine some specific skills that a sales rep can work on that will help them reach their sales goals.

Skills Common in the Sales Industry

Some skills are simply common traits that any sales rep needs to usher potential customers down the sales pipeline.

Without these attributes, it will be difficult to reach any kind of sales quota.

Strong Interpersonal Skills

Many sales managers will tell you that sales are 100% about building relationships. That is why building customer relationships is at the top of our skill list for great sales reps.

When sales reps can create meaningful relationships – even in brief sales conversations – it can produce an emotional response that stays with the prospective customers. This leads to higher customer satisfaction.

Of course, sales teams also benefit when sales reps build relationships together. It is a team effort to develop a company culture of inclusivity and mutual respect.

Critical Thinking Skills

Another crucial sales skill is the ability to use critical thinking in the search for customer solutions.

Excellent customer service begins with a sales representative approaching each sale as a puzzle to solve. The sales process is really only about investigating what this client wants and needs.

It would be nice if every potential buyer would begin their sales conversation with, “I need X, Y, and Z.”

However, sometimes prospective clients don’t know what they need or don’t express it clearly. This is where the investigative critical thinking abilities of a great sales representative come into play.

Presentation Skills

Sales reps are often required to make sales presentations or product demonstrations to potential customers.

Business opportunities flourish when the sales rep can highlight the product or service smoothly regardless of audience size and make-up.

Some demonstrations may be one-on-one and in-person where the sales rep can make eye contact and connect with the interested party.

In other cases, they make have to present to a group of key decision-makers, each with their own project requirements and expectations.

Presentation skills combine eloquence, extensive product knowledge, and good listening skills.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is an important skill for any sales rep who is concerned with success. This means that a sales rep believes they can improve and grow over time.

Sales representatives concerned with growth – their own and their company’s – won’t be afraid of hard work.

They will be willing to try new methods that could lead to higher customer satisfaction and won’t stick to unsuccessful processes.

A growth-oriented sales rep will be coachable and open-minded when it comes to feedback that will improve their performance.

Soft Sales Skills

Some important skills are what we might call soft skills. They are not directly tied to being a sales representative but they make the job easier. Look at a few examples.

Active Listening Skills

One of the soft sales skills that will help a sales rep is active listening. Practicing active listening means making customers feel heard.

Sales reps should be focused when the client is speaking because they will often provide helpful information.

For example, existing customers and new ones may talk about problems they are hoping to solve.

A good sales strategy is to take the problem the client has and try to match it to the products and services the sales rep’s company offers.

Sales professionals should not sacrifice listening to the customer, though, while trying to plan out what they say next or strategizing their next pitch.

In doing so, they may miss out on key requirements or an opportunity to move a potential buyer along to the next step in the sales process.

Time Management Skills

Sales reps are juggling a lot of things at once. Having good methods of keeping everything straight will help a sales rep keep their sanity.

Sales representative skills like caring for multiple leads, prioritizing task list items, and pivoting when priorities change all come into play with good time management.

One thing that will help sales reps deliver the best experience for their customers is to have an intimate knowledge of their team’s sales process so they know how long each step takes.

This helps the sales representatives avoid leaving prospects unattended or trying to push them too fast along the sales pipeline.

Conflict Management Skills

Working as part of a sales team is a study in conflict management. Good sales representatives will be able to de-escalate conflicts and collaborate effectively with other sales professionals.

This ties in with possessing good communication skills and having high emotional intelligence.


Curiosity pushes sales reps to find out more about a prospective customer. They want to understand the person’s needs and find a solution to their problems.

This becomes one of a salesperson’s customer service skills when it makes them ask questions and then practice active listening.

Technical Knowledge

Some sales representative skills involve technical knowledge that may be specific to an industry or company.

Consider some of the specialized knowledge that may help sales representatives succeed.

Product Knowledge

Sales reps are envoys for their sales organization. They need to be able to answer questions that a client has.

Failing to provide satisfactory answers about products and services offered leaves a bad impression and makes it look like the sales team is not an authority on the company’s products.

Sales representatives should also understand the market trends so they know not only what they are selling, but who they are selling to.

Research Skills

Sales representative skills would be incomplete if the rep doesn’t know how to perform effective research.

A sales representative must learn about competitors and their offerings. They should understand how their own products measure up.

Sales reps must perform research on potential clients and understand their buying habits, key deciders, and relevant pain points.

This will position sales reps to deliver sales presentations and the right products that meet buyers’ needs.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

Another skill that should be in the toolbox of a sales representative is an understanding of customer relationship management software.

Most sales teams have sales tools that they use to streamline their sales process. CRM software is just one of these.

Having a good working product knowledge of the CRM allows the sales representative to exercise good time management.

Otherwise, sales professionals may find a large amount of their time is spent with data entry or correcting errors rather than trying to close deals.

Social Media Skills

Social media expertise isn’t always a requirement for a good sales rep. But it can be an important skill for prospecting or researching target companies.

Having at least a basic understanding of social media makes this sales process less of a chore and can yield valuable insight into individuals or organizations.


Many sales representative skills will help a salesperson reach their sales goals of converting prospective customers into buyers and reaching their sales quota.

Whether these skills are communication skills that improve the rep’s ability to present an effective pitch or soft skills that make them a well-rounded employee, a salesperson should invest time in cultivating these qualities.

Putting in the time and work to make improvements to skills and methods will make them a better fit for sales representative jobs and more effective in selling to prospective customers.