Mastering Sales Competencies: Your Guide to Building a High – Performing Sales Team

As a sales and negotiation expert, you know that the ability to close deals and the skills of the sales reps are both important for sales success. Salespeople can persuade prospects and close deals more easily when they have the right skills. Without these skills, sales representatives may struggle to meet their sales targets, which can be costly to your company. This article will provide insights into the essential sales competencies that every salesperson should be aware of in order to improve their sales skills and build a high-performing sales team.

What Is a Sales Competency?

Sales competencies are critical soft skills that enable salespeople to effectively communicate with prospects and influence their buying decisions. These skills are essential because they can directly affect sales performance by shortening the sales pipeline, increasing conversion rates, and bringing in more revenue. Without these competencies, sales reps may struggle to connect with prospects and effectively communicate the unique value of their product or service. Sales competencies can also help sales reps build strong relationships with prospects and clients, which can lead to further trust, loyalty, and referrals. Additionally, these competencies can help sales reps identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities, leading to increased revenue and customer lifetime value.

Why is it important to know how to sell?

Sales representatives can excel by honing and developing their sales competencies. This can improve job satisfaction, career advancement, and business success. To reach business goals, sales managers and leaders must put these skills at the top of their sales teams’ to-do lists.

Sales Competency Model

Sales competency frameworks support the sales management and leaders to evaluate their sales teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Sales managers can identify skill gaps and provide targeted training and coaching using a sales competency model. It can also help with hiring by defining the skills needed for a specific sales role. Sales managers and leaders can use this framework to ensure their sales teams have the skills and knowledge to meet business goals.

What are the most important sales competencies as salesperson should have?

1.Product Service Knowledge

By understanding their product or service, sales reps can effectively communicate with prospects, show how it can solve their pain points, and this knowledge will help to build trust and confidence. To boost sales and meet goals, sales managers and leaders should prioritize product/service knowledge first in their sales teams. That way, the salespeople can excel in their field and increase revenue by investing in this crucial skill.

2.Willingness to Learn

Anyone working in sales must always be willing to learn. In today’s fastpaced sales environment, sales reps who aren’t open minded to learn new skills risk falling behind as technology and sales methods evolve. In today’s fastpaced and constantly changing sales landscape, those who are unwilling to learn and adapt may miss out on valuable opportunities to connect with prospects and close deals.

As an example, many sales people had to quickly learn online communication and prospecting skills during the pandemic. Those who denied to adapt lost prospects and revenue. To achieve business goals, sales managers and leaders must foster a culture of continuous learning in their sales teams.


Prospecting is an important sales skill that is often overlooked or undervalued by salespeople. While many sales executives may not like this stage, it is critical for building a pipeline of leads and closing deals. Because sales is a numbers game, you need a sufficient number of leads at the top of the funnel to close enough deals. So, prospecting must be a top priority for sales representatives.

Prospecting requires a delicate balance of quality and quantity. Lead quality is determined by researching companies, understanding their pain points, and developing a strategic approach to engaging with them. Thus, approach can include calling, emailing, and using LinkedIn to generate interest and build relationships generate leads. Sales reps who prioritize quality over quantity are more likely to build a strong pipeline of leads and close more deals.


Upselling is a critical part of the sales competency matrix that can have a significant impact on a deal. Existing clients are much easier to expand than new ones because they already trust your company. As a result, upselling increases revenue and client lifetime value. In their sales strategies, topperforming sales representatives prioritize upselling.

Asking for referrals and being willing to ask for more business are two key examples of activities that topperforming sales executives excel at. By asking satisfied customers for referrals, they can generate new opportunities and expand their pipeline. Knowing the client’s pain points and goals, as well as being able to explain how additional products or services can help them, is crucial for upselling.

5. Negotiation

Many salespeople believe that negotiation occurs at the final stages of the sales process when the deal is closed or about to close. From the first impression to the solution proposal, negotiation occurs throughout the sales process. By adding value along the way, sales executives can avoid many and overcome objections, therefore they need to learn to negotiate at all stages of the sales process.

Before entering negotiations, the deal owner should conduct research on their clients’ needs and interests. By understanding their pain points, objectives, and constraints, sales executives can tailor proposals and offers to the client’s specific needs. Active listening, empathy, and a willingness to adapt and be flexible in their approach are required. Sales people who are willing to make the big ask and link their offering to the needs they have identified are more likely to close the deal.

Understanding the client’s worth is also essential for effective negotiation.When someone can effectively communicate the value of their offering and relate it to the client’s needs and objectives are more likely to close a deal.

6.Building Relationships

Building strong relationships with prospects and clients is critical to sales in today’s world of limitless options and competitors in every industry. It is important to build trust and rapport with their prospects, making them more likely to close deals and form longterm business relationships.

Active listening, empathy, and adapting to different communication styles are all required for effective relationship building. To tailor their communication and approach, sales representatives must first understand the client’s pain points, objectives, and constraints. Instead of trying to sell, they should focus on developing a relationship. When someone builds trust and become a valuable partner by understanding the client’s needs and caring about them, it will create a strong bond and a higher change to build a loyal client base, generate repeat business, and meet sales targets by honing their relationshipbuilding skills.


Being solutionoriented is a key sales competency that allows sales teams to meet clients’ unique needs. Successful salespeople know that customers want solutions to their problems, not just products or services. So they must therefore focus on the client’s needs, pain points, and goals to provide effective solutions. Sales people must be creative problemsolvers with the ability to think outside the box to be solutionoriented. They should be able to assess the client’s needs, identify potential obstacles, and offer creative solutions that meet the client’s goals. Being solutionoriented requires effective communication. Sales professionals should be able to clearly explain how their products solve clients’ problems

8.Business Insights

Successful salespeople understand how businesses work, understand their industry, what factors influence business decisions, and how their product or service can help their clients achieve their objectives. They should be able to hold meaningful business conversations with clients and tie their offerings to specific ways to increase revenue, cut costs, or eliminate hassle or risk, build trust and close more deals.

To gain business insights, sales professionals must also research about their client’s competition, and business landscape. They should be aware of market trends and fluent in the language of their clients. Sales representatives should also be able to provide industry knowledge and recommendations to clients. Sales representatives who understand business can become trusted advisors and valuable partners. To improve their sales reps’ ability to have meaningful business conversations with clients and drive business growth, sales managers should prioritize developing business insights in their sales reps.


Sales success is determined by a sales professional’s ability to close deals as well as their sales competencies. These are important soft skills that allow salespeople to effectively communicate with prospects and influence purchasing decisions. Product knowledge, a willingness to learn, prospecting, upselling, negotiation, relationship building, being solutionoriented, and business insights are examples of these competencies. To achieve business objectives, sales managers and leaders should prioritize the development of these competencies in their sales teams. Sales representatives can improve their skills, generate revenue, and establish longterm business relationships by investing in training, coaching, and feedback.

In addition to understanding individual sales competencies, viewing them within the context of a sales competency model can be beneficial. Sales managers can use a sales competency model matrix to identify gaps in their teams’ skill sets and provide targeted training and coaching to improve those areas. This framework can aid in the hiring process by providing a clear understanding of the skills required for success in a specific role.

About Shapiro Negotiations Institute

If you want your sales team to become better negotiators and sellers, Shapiro Negotiations Institute can help. With our expertise in sales and negotiation, we can provide your team with the necessary training and coaching to improve their sales competencies. By prioritizing the development of these soft skills and utilizing a sales competency model, you can ensure that your team will have the knowledge and skills needed to meet your business objectives.


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