Are salespeople born with all the knowledge and skill needed to perform at the top of their profession? Of course not. I believe the fundamental qualities of a great salesperson are developed over time. So the answer is salespeople are made! When salespeople diligently practice their trade they master the important selling skills. Let’s begin with the foundation on which to build a great sales career: yourself. What qualities do great salespeople have?
Three Fundamental Qualities Of A Great Salesperson
Ego strength, ego need and empathy. Great salespeople have healthy egos; either naturally or learned over the years. They are self-assured and confident. Being resilient in the face of rejection, defeat and lost sales yet keep on trying is the fundamental personality trait of great salespeople. Empathy, the ability to understand the customer, is fundamental to success in sales. In addition to these personality traits, great salespeople are driven to succeed. They use knowledge, attitude and behaviors to become the best they can be. Determined to achieve their dreams, great salespeople overcome any obstacles in their way.
Salespeople Have A Positive Attitude
Well, maybe it’s more than just hopeful thinking about success. I like to think this short list of the four agreements from Miguel Ruiz is fundamental to success in sales or anywhere for that matter.:
- Have integrity: Always tell the truth. Take responsibility for your actions.
- It’s not personal: When we fail to win business, rarely is it because of who we are.
- Don’t assume: Ask good questions and confirm answers. Take the time to understand the customer.
- Do your best: Do the best you can and don’t measure yourself against others. Grow and improve and your best becomes better.
Talk to great salespeople and you will find they live their lives by these fundamental principles. Plus, they are eternal optimists. Great salespeople enter each sales pursuit with an attitude of expectation of success.
Salespeople Do What Needs To Be Done
Great salespeople do those things others find too difficult, boring or unnecessary. Earl Nightingale looks at the activities as either “goal achieving” or “stress relieving”. Goal achieving activities win sales. In general they are prospecting, qualifying, following up, closing and getting referrals. Stress relieving activities are those necessary for a fulfilling life: spending time with family and friends, exercising, relaxing, resting and enjoying your hobbies. Sometimes the two are combined as in enjoying a golf outing with your customers. Great salespeople know one of the qualities which makes them great is doing the activities each day to achieve their goals. Somedays are better than others. Nevertheless salespeople do the necessary activities. They understand the importance of following the sales process and repeat it over and over again to win sales.
Salespeople Have A Passion For Knowledge
Great salespeople know and use selling skills. They are life-long learners passionate about learning new and refining current skills. For them knowledge not only of sales techniques but also of products, customers, industries, economy and anything affecting the achievement of their goals is important. They are passionate about staying informed. Great salespeople know to ask for help. And they generously pass on their knowledge to others who ask for help. (That’s my hope for this blog.)
Salespeople Give Themselves An Attitude Boost
Even great salespeople have “down days”. When those happen to me I do these things my mentor Jim Wilson suggests:
- Focus on what you must do today, not how you feel.
- Think back to the best sale you ever made, and how good it felt.
- Call a few good customers to say “Thank You” and to make sure they’re happy with your service.
- Ask a few influential supporters for referrals.
- Pay a sincere compliment to the first person you meet.
- Do something nice for someone else.
- Remind yourself that you’re a “10.”
- Call your five best customers and tell them how much you appreciate their business.
- Call five procrastinating prospects and ask for the order.
- Do something nice for yourself.
When I was very young I read a biography of the baseball star Babe Ruth. The most important idea I remember from that book was Babe’s attitude of having to play better on those days he didn’t feel well to achieve success. Keep focusing on your goals and work through the down times.
Salespeople Are Fearless
Yes, even great salespeople feel anxious. But one of qualities of a great salesperson is working through the fear. Having an optimistic approach to each selling situation helps. Even so there are times when I feel uncertain about doing the task. When that happens I rely on my ego strength. I’m confident whatever the outcome I’ll be fine. I remind myself that I’m only there to find out whether I can help the prospect achieve their goals. When there is a match of their needs and my solution, we both win. When there is not a match, I move on to another opportunity. Great salespeople don’t let fear paralyze them. Just doing the activities necessary to qualify and close the sale gets you closer to the win. So work through the anxiousness and as Nike says: “Just Do It!”
Great Salespeople Enjoy The Work
My advice to those colleagues who were unhappy in their job was to go and do something they really like. Great salespeople are excited by the opportunity to call a prospect. They enjoy the challenge of breaking through the reluctance and building rapport. By asking good questions and listening well they find the “why” behind the prospects need. Being “people-persons” great salespeople find satisfaction in knowing what they do helps others succeed in business and in life. They are really happy people.
What You Can Do Right Now To Have Qualities Of A Great Salesperson
- Be positive and optimistic
- Inventory your sales skills
- Challenge yourself to be better every day
- Be your own cheerleader
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.