Skills You Need for a Successful Career in Sales

Finding the right career can take a lot of time and energy for many, but if you know what you’re good at and what you enjoy, this search won’t take long at all. The sales industry is a great place to try your luck, as you’ll be able to look into different jobs and positions that might work for you—which is why this is such a desirable sector. 

Still, if you wish to maximize your talent and potential, learning a few useful skills to do so is a must. 

5 Essential Skills to be successful in Sales

Here is a list of 5 essential skills needed to be successful in a sales career.

5 Essential Skills Needed to Be Successful in a Sales Career

1. Communication

2. Work Ethic

3. Marketing Knowledge

4. Negotiation

5. Creative Problem Solving

1. Communication

Whether you’re a sales rep or an executive in the sales industry, being able to talk to people and get them to know you is crucial.

However, while everyone knows why having great communication skills is important, not everyone realizes that they can and should take their skills to the next level

Being patient and determined is the way to go, so don’t be afraid to invest some time and energy learning how to communicate more successfully than ever before.

Some of the crucial communication skills all salespeople need include active listening skills, problem-solving, reading body language, and mimicry to match tone and mood. 

These crucial skills are important as they can make the person you’re speaking to more comfortable, relaxed, and open to trusting you. These are all essential for salespeople who want to close more deals or sales managers who need to gain the trust and control of their teams

Mastering these skills can take you to new heights and help your sales career more than you can imagine.

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2. Work Ethic

Showing up to work or meetings on time every single day is not enough for most jobs, as it’s something we should all be doing regardless. Since this is required, it doesn’t contribute to a strong work ethic, which means that you can be doing more to wow your boss and/or clients

However, if you’re one of the people whose work ethic needs polishing or ready to take it up a notch to secure a promotion or deal, here are some tips to do so.

  • Change your mindset: a lot of people see their job as a burden, a prison, or a means to an end, instead, start seeing it as something positive. By changing your mindset, you can use your experiences at work to develop yourself and grow personally and professionally. You will also be able to develop friendships easier and your clients are more likely to trust you, as they know you’re genuinely interested in them and their problems and not just trying to sell to them to make money. 
  • Become the go-to person: sometimes our bosses ask us to stay later to get things done, or our colleagues ask us for help even though we have our own projects and tasks to handle. If you’re always unwilling to help, no one will see you as a team player. However, remember, sometimes it's okay to say no to prioritize yourself. 

After that, try to figure out how much your job means to you and how much you’re willing to dedicate your entire day to it. 

In the end, don’t stop updating your work ethic until you’re completely happy with it, as a strong work ethic is one of the best ways to be successful in the sales industry.

3. Marketing Knowledge

Another way to persuade people to do business with you is by using the right marketing approaches. This is at the core of the sales industry and you need to know everything there is to know about marketing if you wish to be the best. 

From different techniques to new ideas and innovations – these are all the things that make marketing so important, so start learning more about them now.

Pro Resource: Check out Badger Sales University to access elite online courses led by the world's leading sales experts. Master the skills needed for a successful sales career by watching bite-sized videos at your own pace.

4. Negotiation

Being able to convince your business partners, investors, clients, and other people you work with to trust you and do what you want them to do is one of the most useful sales skills in the world. 

That’s why negotiating is so important in the sales industry

But, if you want to be a better negotiator, you need to work on your skills first.

Understanding and knowing how to apply these tactics can be quite hard, especially if you have no experience with them. So, going back to basics is helpful, and learning just a few things about psychology might help you more than you can expect. 

If you focus on practical skills that will help you understand your partner or client the most, you’ll become a better negotiator, and, consequently, a better sales rep—and that’s something we’re all hoping for.

Pro Tip: Listen to our Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with former FBI negotiator, Chris Voss, to discover how you can apply high-stake negotiation techniques to never lose a sale.

5. Creative Problem Solving

Unfortunately, no matter how great you are at your job and how much you’re making every single year, you’ll probably run into some obstacles here or there. 

It doesn’t matter what sorts of issues you’re dealing with. What matters is your ability to face them head-on and succeed.

Sometimes, this won’t be easy, regardless of your position and experience. But learning how to deal with and overcome obstacles in your way is something you can learn. 

Being creative when it comes to dealing with your problems takes tons of patience and energy. Sometimes, it also takes the right sales tools. As a field sales rep, an often problem that can occur is scheduling and routing your meetings. Sometimes reps have to get creative to find efficient routes that will keep them on top of their goals, or even ahead. 

Take the guesswork out of it and get yourself a route optimizer, such as Badger Maps. Using Badger Maps will give back 8 hours a week by using it to plan your outside sales routes. With the press of one button and you’ll get to every location you need in the fastest possible time

No need to be patient when you have a tool to do it for you. Use your patience on more pressing problems and be ready to do whatever needs to be done, this will help you tackle bigger problems effectively! 

Additionally, learning how to handle stressful situations more easily can make you healthier, happier, and better at your job. In the end, this is something we’re all looking forward to, so start learning more about solving problems today.


Any skill that you can pick up to put you ahead in the sales game, is a good skill to learn. While there are some skills we have already mastered or are easier for us to learn, there will be some skills that will require more time and practice. 

Some of the other skills you might need if you want to make it in the sales industry include product knowledge, time management, leadership skills, presentation skills, buyer research, closing techniques, and rapport building. 

You’ll also want to work on personal skills for yourself such as your people skills, confidence, and learning how to reduce stress.

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