The ability to be persuasive is an essential skill for all sales jobs. If you can't convince people they need to purchase your product or service, you really don't belong in sales. Of course, this doesn't mean you have to persuade every potential customer to buy -- that is impossible. But, you do have to make enough potential customers become buyers to meet a sales quota or projected number of sales to make a company profit. In communicating how the product or service you're selling will meet the buyer's needs and desires, product knowledge plus an ability to relate to people is crucial.
When you think about it, proving yourself in a sales job begins with the interview. Something many employment seekers fail to realize is that they must sell themselves to the interviewer in terms of their ability to do the job. This is even more relevant in sales jobs because the main skill you're selling is your ability to sell. You are your own product and you must have a belief in yourself and an ability to sell your own benefits before you can successfully sell other products or services. Just as a salesperson must convince buyers of why their product or service is a better fit than competitor's offerings, job seekers for sales jobs must be able to show that they're the best fit for the company.
Communication skills are crucial for the sales job applicant because it's not just about education or experience, but how the candidate presents that information to the interviewer. Successful candidates for sales jobs have more than good written and verbal communication skills – they must be able to hold eye contact in a comfortable manner and know when to listen and when to speak.
Sales skills aren't just about a hard sell, or selling the product or service aggressively. The attitude of the salesperson must be likable and confident. The more likable and reasonable people in sales jobs are, the more successful they tend to be. This attitude coupled with a solid understanding of the product or service being sold can increase sales for a company. Salespeople must also be able to handle rejection well since, no matter how successful they are at sales, there will always be people that don't wish to buy the product or service they're selling.