When it comes to succeeding in the workplace, a college degree isn’t necessarily enough. Nor is years of experience on the job.
That’s because the most in-demand skills that employers crave are the elusive “soft skills” —the intangible but important qualities that enable you to work and interact with the people around you effectively.
- Social Awareness
This shouldn’t be surprising, but the best sales people are social, amicable, and likable—basically, they’re great communicators and conversationalists.
But social awareness isn’t just about what you say, it’s about empathy, good listening skills, and an understanding of when not to talk. “The best sales people are those who can relate to others, show genuine interest in others, and can share their real voice when they speak,”
With a confident, social personality comes the risk of cockiness. Great sales candidates own their accomplishments without an ego “they should be able to tell me about a mistake without shifting the blame, but rather focusing on what they learned from it.”
“Holding selves accountable and not blaming ‘the product,’ ‘the market,’ or ‘the manager’ for lousy results is what separates top performers from mediocre ones,” a company that specializes in hiring and training sales departments.
- Listening: Make it Your Secret Communication Weapon
People often associate good communicators with excellent public speaking. But the best communicators do something that most others fail at. They listen.
The easiest way to build trust with someone is by showing interest in him or her. You can accomplish this by listening more than you talk. Good listeners don’t think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is speaking. Good listeners ask follow-up questions. Good listeners make it all about the person they’re with—not about them.
When in doubt, provide guiding cues like “Tell me more about that.” The most valuable thing that you can give someone is your attention.
- Creative Thinking: Be Resourceful With What You’ve Got
Being creative often means finding ways to solve problems with limited resources. Chefs are a great example of how to do this. If a chef wants to make a dish that requires 10 ingredients, but he only has seven of them on hand, what will he do? Is he going to leave his customers hungry?
No, a great chef will go into problem-solving mode. He’ll find a way to get creative with the seven ingredients that he has to make a delicious dish. The greatest innovations tend to arrive under constraints. The companies with the largest budgets or head counts don’t always finish first. Use your disadvantages to your advantage.
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