7 traits of successful sales people
I have had the opportunity to work with and observe many talented sales people over many years, and in many cases they’ve sold to me too! I’m interested in identifying what makes them tick, what makes them different from others. Now I’m not claiming that these are the only 7 things, or that indeed they’re the most important 7, but I just ‘put them out there’ for you to consider.
I’ve noticed that successful sales people generally have the following 7 characteristics ;
- Creativity of thought
- Methodical approach to selling activity
- Belief in what they’re doing
- Mental toughness and resilience
- Good interpersonal skills
- Good communication skills
Regardless of how we view ourselves in the above areas, all of us can improve our sales skills. In the main, following set procedures in your approach to selling will yield increased results. This can be learned by adopting the practices of many successful sales people.
Creativity of thought. Often you find you’re selling square pegs to someone who wants round holes. And being creative is a valuable part of “thinking outside the box.” “OK, while we can’t do it like that, we can offer you……” Or possibly, “whilst we don’t have any of those in stock at the moment, they’re on 12 week order from the factory, nevertheless I could hire you one in the meantime. How does that sound?” I’m sure these scenarios are familiar to you. Finding a way to say yes is important, provided it isn’t a poor solution that will cause the customer to be dissatisfied of course.
Methodical approach to selling activity. It’s easy, and tempting to think that finding a new way of selling, or doing something in a way that’s never been done before is the key to riches. And it may well be. But for most of us it’s much more important to do the right things, consistently and thoroughly. It’s about being organised, structured and methodical. May not sound very glamorous, but it’s a more effective and likely way of becoming successful.
Belief. This is important clearly. You must believe in the products and services you’re offering. Because if you don’t, why should anyone else? Additionally you will always feel more comfortable if you’re saying what you believe. Otherwise you’re putting on an act and selling will always feel more pressured if it’s all an act. If one day, you stop believing, then fine. Move on, do something else. You owe it to yourself.
Mental toughness & resilience. This is important because in selling you’re constantly setting yourself up for other people to reject you. At least that is maybe how it feels. Selling is more difficult if you’re a wallflower or shrinking violet. Instead, when people knock you down, you simply dust yourself off, and go back for more. Being able to handle sales objections and people saying ‘No’ is key.
Ambition. The evidence for this of course is that more sales people are paid commission and bonuses than other types of role. Employers understand that to attract and motivate good quality sales people you have to keep them focused on achieving more. I’ve observed that good sales people are those who generally want to do better this year than they did last year, and next year they want to achieve more and have more than they have this year. Constant improvement and winning is what it is all about for top sales people.
Good interpersonal skills. This one is crucial of course because in selling…… you’re selling to humans! So therefore the way you relate to them, and build rapport with them will affect your chances of them wanting to do business with you. People buy from people is one of the mantras from our courses and many others too I’m sure.
Good communication skills. You’d expect me to have this on my list perhaps given that I train telephone sales teams over 2 days in communication skills. However all the wonderful things we spend time on : listening skills, questioning skills, mixed messages, how to direct the conversation and the structure of the sales call are crucial to success. Being able to put your point over clearly and persuasively, whilst listening effectively with respect are important attributes.
If you were to give yourself a rating out of 10 for each of these 7 criteria, you’d have an idea about how effective you see yourself as a sales person. A score out of 70.
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