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3 Soft Selling Skills I See In My Best Sales Development Reps


soft selling skills

I was having an interesting discussion with my Director of Marketing the other day about her perspective on hard vs. soft sales skills. From what she has seen working with experienced sales guys and gals over the years is that they rely far too much on their hard skills to get them by. They’ll consistently depend on their hard skills because it has worked for them in the past rather than truly engaging with their prospect audience. Talking about the sporting event from the previous weekend is a great way to apply your soft selling skills, but it generally tends to be the only one that old school sales folks pull out of their hat.

Soft skill selling has become ever more important, especially now that the millennial audience is carrying more influence and decision-making power... And they definitely like to be heard. 

Whether you're in a cold calling or closing role, soft skill selling is a very necessary part how you choose to identify with your audience. 

Here are 3 soft selling skills that I've seen in my best reps over the years.


There is nothing more important than identifying with a prospect's pain. Once you've been able to do so, assuming there is a fit, it should be up to you to find the appropriate timing to let them know how your product can help. Being able to empathize with their current situation and cater your prospecting to their place in the buying cycle will make all the difference.

Respect for a prospect's time.

Sales development reps at times don't take into consideration that they are interrupting a prospect's day. Asking "if this is a good time" or at the very least getting to the point of how you can help them without losing the meaning or attractiveness of your offering is the key. 

Tone and cadence.

Mirroring prospects' tone and cadence will put them more at ease in order to get an open dialogue going.  Although they are technically on your agenda when you contact them, you should want them to feel that they are running the show. Opening a conversation this way will allow them to feel in control while you quietly and quickly get to point where they are willing to answer your open-ended questions. 

So maybe it's time to let go of the ego a bit. You may have the best "hard selling skills" out there, but if you don't balance those well with soft selling skills, your prospects are probably going to spend most of their time thinking about how pompous you sound rather than focusing on how your product or service can actually help them. 

Managing Millennials Guide for Inside Sales

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About the Author   |   Craig Ferrara

Craig Ferrara is the Vice President of Client Operations for AG Salesworks. He has extensive experience in the sales and teleprospecting process. Craig joined AG Salesworks in 2003 and has successfully managed several teams of high-performing Business Development Representatives. To read more of his articles, click here.

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