Are you a great salesperson? Do you want to be a great salesperson? How do you recognize the sales potential of the people you hire to get out there and promote your products and services?
Whether you are looking to pat yourself on the back for fitting the profile, needing to improve your skills or working to identify the right people for your marketing efforts, here are some key traits that you either already have, or need to develop, to be highly effective at sales.
You like dealing with people.
You really, really like dealing with people. This would seem obvious, yet we’ve all encountered salespeople who don’t really make eye contact, who seem to want to move on, and who seem to be reading from a script instead of trying to connect with customers and help them get what they need. These sorts of people don’t really like their jobs, and aren’t particular looking to becoming an expert in it.
Related Article: Surefire Signs Your Sales Strategy is a Success
You really like your job.
Really, really like your job. You have to wake up looking forward to pounding the pavement. While this should seem obvious, it’s not always so obvious to hiring managers, not to mention the people they hire. Consider this statistic from the insurance industry, courtesy of Harvard Business Review. The turnover of sales agents is approximately 50 percent within the first year of employment and 80 percent within the first three years. And despite considerable study and efforts to lower these percentages, improve productivity and reduce operational costs, turnover consistently remained at these levels for 35 years!
It’s not about selling stuff. It’s about building business.
Business Insider points out that selling something today doesn’t mean you can sell more tomorrow. Focusing on the customer to sell what they need establishes a relationship that over the long term, achieves more and steadier sales than a mere one hit big score.
Salespeople are problem solvers.
Good salespeople don’t focus on what a product does. They focus on what a product does to improve customer productivity, reduce costs and solve problems.
Salespeople demonstrate the ability to listen.
Customers are innately wary of salespeople because they feel they fear they might be pressured into buying something they don’t really need. Salespeople who primarily concentrate on making the big pitch reinforce this impression. Those who ask questions and listen carefully to the answers are not only less likely to be perceived as high-pressure salespeople, but can actually give customers what they want.
Related Article: Why Customers Say No to Upsells (And How to Fix It)
Salespeople do not over-promise.
It’s not about telling people what they want to hear just to get them to sign on the dotted line. That’s what gives the entire profession a bad name.
Superstar salespeople do their homework.
You might think that good preparation is part of the job description. Yet Inc. reports that more than 70 percent of salespeople fail to prepare the research, pre-call plan and customer presentation, activities that are absolutely essential to successful sales.
Stellar salespeople follow-up.
This is the flip side of good preparation: following through. Good salespeople deliver not only good products, but also whatever they’ve told their customers what they are going to do. A tendency to let things “fall through the cracks” is not a trait conducive to great customer relationships.
Keep in mind that some of these traits come naturally, while others need ongoing practice and development. If you are a salesperson you likely have a combination of both. Which areas can you strengthen? Can you make a "game" of it to keep yourself motivated? For example, averaging a certain number of follow-ups to maintain a 5-day streak?
If you are hiring a salesperson, look for some proclivity toward many of these sales personality traits. However, don't discount the possibility that some people, possessing the right attitude, can be trained and grow into a sales position, too.