It might seem like it’s a different sales world out there today. You’re probably being asked to drive results from a sales team that is possibly feeling beat up. Customers are seeking more concessions than ever before, and you are being asked to produce the same sales – if not more – with less of everything, from people to budgets to promotional materials.

In today’s economy, we’ve heard from many sales leaders worldwide that more sellers than ever aren’t making quotas, they have dejected sales teams, or their competition is discounting so much it’s hard to compete and stay in business. And for a lucky few, sales are on track and they want to finish the year even stronger.

At Sharpenz we believe there are five skills critical to a sales professional’s success in this economy: prospecting, working through objections, problem solving, articulating value and following a sales system. Here’s a brief description of each:

Prospecting is proactively initiating contact with prospective buyers, including gaining referrals, cold calls, networking, trade show work, and so much more. You need to have contacts to make a sale.

Working through objections or concerns is important because there have always been objections in sales – is today really different? The objections might be stronger or different – but skilled sales professionals know how to work through them.

Articulating value is placing the focus entirely on your customer.  It’s focusing on Wiift: “What’s in it for them” in relation to their POWN’s… Problems Opportunities, Wants or Needs.

Problem solving is the skill of identifying problems and then reducing or eliminating them for prospects.  Linking today’s problems and outcomes to the prospect’s business strategy sets the sales professionals apart.

Following a systematic approach to sales is along the adage of “practice makes perfect.” The key is finding a system that accomplishes the task and then duplicating it over and over.  A system brings consistency, efficiency and better results.

These are the five skills we believe are critical for sales professionals to thrive in today’s economy. In future posts we’ll go into more detail about each and give you tips and hints to help you equip your sales team to succeed.

Do these five skills ring true with you? If you think we should add more to the list, let us know in the Comments section.


Top performing and top producing sales managers whose sellers meet sales quotas consistently conduct Field Ride Alongs, One-on-One Coaching and Sales Meetings to build skill and will.  Clone yourself for some one-on one-coaching or own the latest done-for-you sales training with these special offers only available here.