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The single most important skill for sales professionals.

What is the single most important skill a sales professional needs to possess to succeed in personal selling? - by Community Mailbox
Single most issue is confidence. It takes moxie and energy to get through the plethora of rejections one will receive. However, it is not for a personal reason that representatives get rejected it is for lack of a value proposition. Confidence will assist selling representatives glide through the selling roller coaster.

Good Selling
Drew Stevens
Author, Split Second Selling - by Drew Stevens
Persistence.
Not to give up to early - you have to hear 5 no's to hear one yes. - by AlenMajer
Prospect like you breathe! - by Connie Kadansky
The preceding replies were important, but they described attitudes, traits, and action--not "skills" as in the topic's question.

In my view, the single most important skill in selling is the Ability to Learn. That is a skill. It is from there that all other skills are acquired.

People much smarter than myself have discussed the art of learning as consisting of two paths. The first is Entity Learning which stems from a stationary (fixed) "knowledge" that all new information must be compatible with or it is discarded. This type of learning retards growth. It's often seen in gifted children and encouraged by proud parents, and as a result the child's potential, growing into adulthood, is not realized.

The second is Incremental Learning where you build knowledge and explore new frontiers and concepts---and implode deeper into that which works for you.

In sales, two many people rely on the pat knowledge and they remain intermediate at best for most of their careers. - by Ace Coldiron
I agree with Ace, in the abstract.

Concretely, I'd suggest the skill needed MOST is communication skills - how to ask questions that are insightful and get your prospects talking about their needs. I'd also suggest skills to deal with tricky negotiations and push back (which you're likely to encounter at some point in your sales career! - by sfrenkel
I may be saying the same thing as Ace, however, I would say it is being teachable. - by Jim Klein
Given the choice of one skill, I believe listening empathetically is the most important skill. - by accelerated-sales
The ability to engage the prospect. - by Skip Anderson
If a salesperson doesn't have anyone to sell to -- all the learning in the world doesn't make any difference. Still believe that prospecting is the single most important skill. They a salesperson is willing to prospect, you can teach and tweak everything else!

Connie Kadansky - by Connie Kadansky
If a salesperson doesn't have anyone to sell to -- all the learning in the world doesn't make any difference. Still believe that prospecting is the single most important skill. They a salesperson is willing to prospect, you can teach and tweak everything else!
I have known people who were phenomenal at prospecting, to the point of having others in awe of them, who lacked the overall selling skills to make sales, once engaged with the prospect.

Those mentioned were not successful. The exceptions were when management stepped in to close the sales, often to the disenchantment of others in the company who worked hard at learning. - by Ace Coldiron
For every single skill, there's a reason why that skill isn't enough.

Great at prospecting - but can't close = no sale - etc.

Surely the answer is that there is no single most important skill in an absolute sense.

It's a bit like asking which is the most important component of water - they hydrogen or the oxygen?

You need both, of course.

Even if we knew the single most important skill - how would it help us? If we knew that prospecting scored 10 and closing scored 8 - what would we do as a result?

I would submit that the most important skill is perhaps the one you're missing. If I'm good at prospecting but weak at closing - the most important skill for me to learn is closing. And vice versa.

Ian - by ianbrodie
The single most important skill applying what you learn - by rich34232
Even if we knew the single most important skill - how would it help us? If we knew that prospecting scored 10 and closing scored 8 - what would we do as a result?
Good point.

I addressed this in my business and achieved much greater efficiency and results. I gave long and careful thought in determining the most critical areas of importance. I found seven. I focus on them daily, actually using a PowerPoint chart for my review. What followed automatically were solid efforts to increase my skills in all seven areas.

But--again--I LEARNED to do that. I took what I learned in studying Covey, and I took what I learned from inside myself. - by Ace Coldiron
I would say the single most important sales skill is looking at a prospects problem/situation from their perspective/point of view - this breeds humiility, dis-engages the ego and ensures that the sales pro really listens and not hears.

Strangely, when you look at solving a customers problems from your point of view (in order for you to gain), the customer instinctively senses it...

My 2 pennies worth...

Tony - by Tonyd
I am going to have to go with confidence. Confidence will allow one to be persistent once they know that they have what it takes in order to excel in sales. - by Jumpman
I am going to have to go with confidence. Confidence will allow one to be persistent once they know that they have what it takes in order to excel in sales.
Confidence is not a skill. It is an attitude or trait.

If you were to attach a skill that would bring about "confidence" it could be the ABILITY to suspend one's disbelief. Many people can't do that. Like many skills, it is often LEARNED.

In that context it would rank very high among the skills discussed here, most of which have to be learned. A gifted person, for instance, might appear as if they were born with a particular skill, but in truth, he/she has an inherent ability to shorten the learning curve dramatically. - by Ace Coldiron
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