Six Critical Skills For Professional Selling

The Six Critical Skills are the “muscles” that give strength and flexibility to the Sales and Service Framework. They allow you to create a dialogue, understand client needs, priorities, and perspective and close profitable business.


Positioning is presenting information persuasively throughout the sales call.  Positioning helps to differentiate products and services by using words to shape a client’s perceptions and encouraging clients to listen and remember.  

Listening is the ability to concentrate on meaning.  There are three levels of listening: zoned out (not involved at all), efficient (engaged but thinking about other things), and effective (fully engaged).  Listening at the highest level fosters effective client dialogue.  

Salespeople who really understand their client needs have a competitive edge.  How well they question determines how strong the competitive edge is.  When questions are well structured they are powerful.

Questions give the data to position products and services to meet the client’s needs.  When good questions are asked, salespeople demonstrate commitment to meeting the client’s needs.

Salespeople who can ask questions in a way that encourages a client to open up have a competitive edge.  Knowing how to get clients to talk about their needs in-depth is critical in sales.  Prefacing is a skill that can help you do that.

Relating is the manner in which sales professionals interact with a client to make personal and business connections.  Although most salespeople feel that they are already strong at relating, it is one of the toughest skills to truly master, and strong relating skills can help differentiate someone from competitors.

Strong presence is essential because it can give credibility to or undermine any message a sales person want to convey.  In many ways, it may be the most important skill because if there is a disconnect between what the sales person’s presence conveys and what h/she says, credibility with the client will be lost.

Checking is asking open-ended questions to elicit feedback from the client on what the sales person has just said.  By checking for client agreement and understanding key times, sales professionals can keep the dialogue on track and interactive.