Transferable skills when changing industries

March 11, 2020

What qualities do good sales recruits have and how their skills are transferable across industries?

It all depends… What are you selling and to whom?

So what should we really be looking for in a good sales recruit?

– Are you selling B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer)?

– Are you selling unique solutions or specialised/customised products or services?

– Are you selling simple off-the-shelf products or services?

The higher the complexity of what you are selling, the more skilful and knowledgeable your salespeople will need to be when it comes to customer engagement.

So what would I be looking for in a good sales recruit first?

– What they see as a fair exchange of value and how they create the conditions for this to happen.

– How they approach developing new business with new and existing clients

– How they approach developing new business relationships and maintaining existing relationships so opportunity can continue to flourish for both parties

– What selling means to them – do they see it as a vehicle that allows opportunity to flourish and people to prosper together, or as a means to an end where the customers are merely objects to be exploited?

– How they arrive for an interview: Do they arrive on time? How do they treat people when they arrive and leave reception? How are they dressed? How prepared are they? and so on

– Do I trust them? Do I feel they have my best interests at heart?

Six key traits for transferable sales skills

1. Communication
Is a crucial sales skill that plays an important part not only in our everyday lives, but also in our sales career. Clear communication between clients and colleagues is essential in the workplace and a major facet of working in sales, so is arguably one of the most transferable skills in this list.

2. Negotiation
You’re on the phone. You’ve delivered the sales pitch. All the client needs is a gentle push in the right direction but, too much and they could be thrown off course entirely. Plenty would falter in this situation. Salespeople across most industries experience this all the time.

3. Ability to stay calm
While not everyone is lucky enough to possess this skill, most people tend to develop it if they want to progress in sales. A salesperson always needs to remain calm if they are to convince people to commit to parting with some money.

4. Teamwork
Unless you’re a Loan Wolf or James Bond and prefer to work alone, you’ll find that nearly all sales roles require teamwork. Importantly knowing when to step in and offer advice, when to ask for help and how to pull together as a group to close a deal are just some of the tasks, you’re likely to do daily in sales. No matter how overused the word ‘teamwork’ is, it is an essential part of working life and pretty much all industries with sales teams benefit from it.

5. Resilience and the ability to bounce back
Successful salespeople keep moving forward regardless of the difficulties or failures they experience. They bounce back quickly, creating opportunities out of obstacles. They find a way to win despite the setbacks.

6. Ability to think fast
Although not everyone who works in sales can think fast, there’s no doubt that a razor-sharp instinct will take you far. This skill will serve you well whatever sales role you work in.

With these six core transferable skills highlighted on your resume, you’ll be well on your way to securing a new job in virtually any industry.


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