What Makes A Great Salesperson?
Despite what you may have heard, being a great salesperson isn't about your ability to sell ice to Eskimos, having the 'gift of the gab' or simply being a people person. Of course, if you do have all the above, then you're well on your way. Though a leading sales profession has a lot more to offer than frozen water and a way with words...
The persistence of a great sales professional begins with that first call. You'll be tenacious, but not pushy... persistent but without coming across as a stalker. Your persistence will help tempt the client into the first meeting, prove to them that yours is the best and only solution for them, and help to establish the beginnings of a long-term business relationship. Persistence gets you places. It's a beautiful thing.
Bad salespeople spend time, energy, sweat and tears putting in hours of effort to pitch to a client... however don't bother to follow up. They're left tired, demotivated and scratching their head as to where it all went wrong. A great salesperson has their house in order. You'll follow up in a timely manner (not too soon to avoid coming across as too keen for a second date, not too late that someone else may have jumped in to close a deal of their own). You'll have all the information you need about your own business offering, and the requirements of the client. And you'll already have perfectly matched the areas in which your product or service can help. You might have colour coded it too. Hey, if that's your thing, go with it.
A good salesperson creates a sale. A great salesperson creates value. As a leading salesperson, you'll know it's not about the product or service itself, it's about the benefits it will offer to your client... the headaches it will relieve, the problems it will solve. You won't only fix those niggles; you'll go one step further to find out if they know anyone else whose niggles you can fix too. It's all about building your own network and your own personal brand of 'me'.
There is no such thing as a 9-to-5 salesperson. Whilst you may spend your nine to five in the office, a great salesperson is always looking for opportunities to grow their network. Whether you're out networking, enjoying a leisurely weekend or socialising with friends, your prospecting radar is always on, and you know when there's an opportunity to pounce on.
Can you really sell ice to that Eskimo? It depends, are you selling frozen water? Or are you selling a practical solution to their absence of an ice cube tray? If you're not passionate about your product or service, you're hardly going to assuage anyone to part with their hard-earned cash for it. And they certainly won't be passionate about recommending it to someone else. A great salesperson is passionate about the product, about the brand and about what they do.
Great salespeople have a certain class. Sure, they don't all spend Sundays down at The Savoy whilst their butler buffs the Rolls. It's more of an air about them that says, 'I'm genuine'.
You care about the people you’re selling to enough to be honest if you feel they don't actually need what you're offering. You’re willing to listen more than you talk, take time to understand their needs and offer a solution, rather than a product. Perfectly packaged up in a personality that screams class.
Ok sure, even the greatest salespeople shriek at the sight of a spider, shudder above a certain height... one guy in our office has a fear of consecutive holes (it's a thing, look it up). But the best and most successful sales leaders take a 'no fear' approach to rejection. They're confident about their product, trust their own abilities and quickly recover from that soul destroying 'no thanks' that has sent many sales executives searching for a simpler life (not like farming or anything, just not sales).
The working day of a sales executive can be a lonely one. You'll have your own network of contacts, your own sales targets and areas to cover. So, in order to nail it, you'll need to stand well on your own two feet. Which is great for those that love to plan their own working day, work to their own beat, and thrive on the fast-paced need to get out there and make connections. If you're confident enough to stand on the front lines and make independent decisions on behalf of your employer, a career in sales could be a great next step for you.