Read the literature today about the characteristics of great salespeople and you will find common traits. And they are different today than those of past generations of great salespeople. Take my dad, the most influential salesperson in my life. He got in his car every Monday morning and headed out to see customers. When he got his customer’s office they would usually see him. No appointment necessary. Maybe he would bring donuts or take a customer to lunch. His tech was the phone on his desk and a Remington typewriter. His research came from his customers, his fellow salespeople and maybe a printed business directory. And my grandfather, another great salesperson used exactly the same tools. But now times are really different as are the characteristics of great salespeople.
Great Salespeople Put The Buyer First
This “putting the buyer first” characteristic of great salespeople is eternal. Both my dad and grandfather had it. But today we do it a bit differently. We have multiple tools to understand the needs of the buyer. By learning about the burdensome business issues the buyer has we have empathy with them. Great salespeople are successful because they put the buyer’s needs first. And we work hard to satisfy those needs with our product or service. Today we are more thought leaders and consultants for the buyer. We connect with buyers and other influencers using the skill of engaging and relevant storytelling. We build rapport and mutual trust between ourselves and the buyer’s team. For generations first among the characteristics of great salespeople has been the skill to put the needs of the buyer above their own.
Great Salespeople Prospect
We no longer stop by a company unannounced and unprepared. Nor do we just pick up the phone and make calls to names on a list. No, great salespeople take the time to prepare for prospecting. They are detail oriented and organized. They research the prospects industry and their company. Great salespeople look for industry trends to see what problems are affecting the prospect they can solve. They check out the prospect’s competitors.
A characteristic of great salespeople is understanding the prospect and their business before making the first contact. We use a variety of resources to learn about the prospect. Still the best source of information on a prospect is a referral from a current customer. We study company websites. Check out buyer’s personal social media pages like LinkedIn. We use our network of colleagues to mine for information on the prospect. From all the data we collect from all sources we build our knowledge about the prospect. Then and only then do great salespeople make the first contact. So we prospect continuously but with purpose and preparation.
Great Salespeople Adapt To Change
Maybe adapt is not the right word. How about great salespeople embrace change? Recently COVID-19 has been the most influential driver of change. Office closures. Work from home. It all changed for the road warrior salesperson used to meeting face-to-face with his customers. But there have always been generation cultural changes in how we communicate.
One of the characteristics of great salespeople is embracing new technology. It has changed the way we communicate with prospects and customers. Now virtual collaboration between any two groups of people is common. The pandemic has showed us virtual meetings are more efficient. No more do we need to travel to a prospects business. Just set up a Zoom call.
We now use customer relationship management software to keep track of our interactions. Technology allows us to use data to predict outcomes of sales campaigns. We use planning tools to coordinate with other sales team members. Our sales environment is rapidly changing. One of the characteristics of great salespeople is they too are changing the way they sell.
Do You Have The Characteristics Of Great Salespeople?
- Are you always putting the buyer’s needs first?
- Do you prospect from a position of understanding the customer?
- Have you embraced the changing sales environment and the new skills needed to excel?
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Six, Characteristics of Successful Salespeople, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales encouragement, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.