You open up Salesforce and go through your vetted list of accounts. That dreadful feeling you get in your gut when you’re about to make your first dial. Am I prepared? Do I know the business owner’s name? What type of business is this?

Nothing is worse than receiving a phone call from a sales rep, and they don’t even know the business owner’s name.

Don’t let this happen to you – getting someone to say yes is challenging enough, but building your sales skills in the following areas will give a good foundation.


Confidence is key. When you’re giving your pitch to a business owner make sure you’re standing up (body language is SO important for inbound sales) and speak directly in the headset.

Pro tip: Believe in the product that you’re selling — that confidence will make the business owner secure in their decision-making.


Few business owners want the product you are selling at first, but this is where you make them need the product you are selling through storytelling.

Let’s say you’re selling ad space to a business – start by telling them a story and adding their pain point (for example, getting more business). “In order for customers to recognize YOUR business first, you have to make sure they know you exist; and by doing so, you need to appear at the top of the list.”

This will initiate the business owner into thinking someone wants their business, but can’t find them due to a lack of visibility.

Storytelling is an essential sales skill in any pitch, because not only are you telling but showing the business owner why they need your product. It also helps you appear ‘human’ on the phone and not just a ‘robot’ sales rep reading from a script.

Active listening

First, get the business owner or decision-maker talking by building trust, and then you need to stop talking. This is where you need to actively listen to what the business owner needs and then tailor your sales pitch to fit their goals.

Actively listening as a sales skill isn’t only important for your pitch, but important for the business owner to feel like you care. By showing them you want to help by listening, you’ll build rapport.

Speaking of which…

Rapport building

Building a solid relationship is one of the #1 sales skills for any representative, and one of the most rewarding parts of the job. For every call you make to that business owner, try to move the conversation forward each time. If you don’t close the deal on the first call, use that to your advantage on every call after to get to know the business deeper.

You’ll be surprised that you won’t only build a relationship on a business level, but a life-long client for years to come. Making the conversation fun and exciting will make the task and the final deal a more memorable experience for you and the client.

Aside from just closing a deal, rapport building is beneficial for both you and the business owner by creating more networking opportunities, and referrals. If the business owner appreciates the process of your sale and the final product, they’re more likely to refer you to another business.

So continue to build rapport — it’s more vital than you think!

Objection handling

No one likes to get rejected and not every call you have with a prospect will result in a deal. By learning and implementing the sales skills we recommend in this article, you’ll be able to handle objections like a pro.

This is where that earlier pain point comes full circle. Imagine you’re still selling ad space to that prospect, and they tell you, “My business is good right now — we are making just enough money.” Great! So why did they just spend 30 minutes on the phone with you?

They know they need your help but they need an additional push. Handle their objections with care by reminding them why they spent 30 minutes with you on the phone. Help them remember why it’s important to have ads for their business, and how ads will increase their return on investment.

As with many sales skills, objection handling is a nerve-racking situation but you can do it! Just be thoughtful of the business owner and their needs. Being helpful, confident, and actively listening will get you through those objections. On top of that, object handling is one of the top soft skills that sales departments look for.

Subject matter expertise

Subject Matter Expertise (SME) is a key skill for any sales role. If you don’t know truly understand what it is you’re selling, then how can you answer all of your prospect’s questions?

Having a deep understanding of your product/service and the marketplace will help you position your offering better, handle objections more effectively, and build rapport by digging into the prospect’s ultimate needs and concerns.

In larger companies with a range of products, or a product with multiple ‘angles’, they may have dedicated subject matter experts who know absolutely everything about their part of the product.

For example, if you worked for Zoom Inc. selling remote conferencing technology, there could be experts who just focus on selling to universities, or someone who sells to developers wanting to integrate Zoom in their own enterprise platforms. The university expert would (hopefully) understand the typical challenges faced by universities going remote, and have insights and strategies ready to share.


Using technology drives more revenue since you are able to shorten the average sales cycle. Take Salesforce as an example — this platform allows you to access all your businesses in one centralized database. The biggest benefit to using technology like Salesforce is being able to manage your own pipeline and vet new accounts in and old accounts out.

Software like Salesforce and CRMs can help you efficiently manage your day-to-day and sales accounts to ensure you’re building contact, engaging with prospects and closing deals.

Additionally, the most effective organizations make use of revenue operations to create winning customer journeys where the sales, marketing and customer success teams work side-by-side, rather than in disconnected siloes.

How to boost your sales skills

A lot of these sales skills will develop with time and experience, but there are a few ways to fast track your development.

First off, see if your company offers sales training, or spend time with the marketing or customer success teams to understand the typical pain points they try and solve in their messaging.

If you want to skill up even faster, consider taking an revenue operations courses, where you’ll learn from sales giants like Hubspot, Salesforce, Boston Consulting Group and more.