Sales professionals have always needed a mix of hard skills and soft skills. They need a solid understanding of what they’re selling and the CRM their team uses. Sales pros also need to know how to nurture relationships and manage their time well. Some skills are especially important heading into the new year, notes Jay Fuchs, the editor of the HubSpot Sales Blog.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we outline the selling skills that Fuchs projects to be critical in 2022.

Empathy. It’s important for sales professionals to show they understand where their clients and prospects are coming from. The best sales reps don’t sell simply to make their own quota. Instead, they sell because they believe their product or service is the best solution to the prospect’s need. Remember that you’re engaging with real people, Fuchs says, so always maintain a human element.

Balance. Selling is both an art and a science, Fuchs points out. Sales reps need structure and proven strategies, but they also need some flexibility to step outside those boundaries. In the year ahead, think about how you and your sales team can strike a healthy balance between following sales processes and adding personal flourishes.

Clear communication. Clarity is critical in any sales environment. Leaders need to be able to clearly communicate goals and expectations, and sales professionals to be able to clearly communicate product details, pricing and the sales process to potential buyers. Remember that clear communication is central to building trust and establishing productive relationships, says Fuchs.

Research. By prioritizing research skills in 2022, sales reps can put themselves in a better position to connect with prospective buyers. Fuchs recommends poring through prospects’ websites and learning everything you can about their business and industry. Then, dig deeper and research the specific people you want to contact. Get to know their background and look for any information that could help you spark a conversation.

Product knowledge. Sales professionals should know their offerings inside and out, and they should also be able to enthusiastically discuss them with prospects and clients. Fuchs notes that you can’t structure an effective value proposition if you don’t know the kind of value your product or service can offer. You also need in-depth product knowledge to differentiate yourself from others. In the year ahead, make time to research your company’s products and services.

Storytelling. Communication is key, and so is storytelling. You can work on your storytelling skills by incorporating case studies into your conversations. Fuchs recommends covering elements such as character, context, conflict and resolution. Paint a compelling and detailed picture so prospective buyers can see how you have helped other businesses, and how you could help them, too.

Persuasion. Lastly, make 2022 the year to work on your persuasive skills. This doesn’t mean strong-arming prospects into buying from you. It means effectively showing how you can help your prospects achieve their unique goal or resolve their specific challenge. Fuchs says it’s a good idea to use case studies and client data to support your conversations.

The sales environment is always changing. The same is true for client needs. You can set yourself up for success in the new year by working on building and strengthening the selling skills above.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jay Fuchs is the editor of the HubSpot Sales Blog.