Seven Characteristics of Successful Sales People
Here we take a closer look at what the industry considers to be the characteristics of successful performing sale people.
At meta-morphose we pride ourselves on being able to spot these characteristics in graduates that with the right training and development enable them to become truly successful sales superstars.
- Being inquisitive – 'I want my sales team to behave like 5 year olds!' They never stop asking questions! The greatest sales people will have an almost childlike inquisitiveness. They ask incisive questions and therefore do not make assumptions, they are naturally interested in finding out about a client and their business and uncovering their needs. Great sales people will always ask searching questions and lead their customers through an organised thought process. This in turn leads to a greater understanding and recognition of the customer’s situation.
- Being a good listener - Most people assume that sales people are talkers but this is not true, successful salespeople listen harder than most and keep qualifying their understanding. They make sure that they give a customer plenty of time to completely outline what they want. Good sales people always put checks in place to make sure they have uncovered needs and qualified their understanding before selling back. If you sell back too early you risk alienating your client who will think you are not listening and rushing to a conclusion. As an old manager of mine once said “you have two ears and only one mouth – use them in that same ratio”.
- Multi-Tasking, Flexible, organised - Good sales people are excellent at multi-tasking, in a sales situation sales people are often not only listening and understanding what the client is telling them – but thinking three steps ahead, mirroring and empathising with the client and also working out the other motivators that the client may have but is not disclosing. This is all done simultaneously and at pace.
- Great Work Ethic - Successful sales people know the value of hard work, they realise there is no way of getting around prospecting and investigating all potential selling opportunities in their designated territory. Great sales people understand that they cannot live off leads – they need to have an in-built work ethic to ensure that their pipeline does not dry up. They will also work hard to ensure that they are “up to date” on the market, the competition and are fully aware of all other issues that will impact their customer’s environment. It's not a nine to five job.
- Bags of Enthusiasm, energy – Our brains are designed to relate to others that look 'right' and just as importantly, that sound 'right'. We naturally respond better to people who sound enthusiastic, energetic, passionate. I love to listen to people speak passionately about a subject that they are an expert in. In many cases I have found that when I have listened to these types of people they have brought to life a subject or topic that I would have otherwise found quite boring. Maintaining and communicating that level of passion and enthusiasm is difficult. Good salespeople cannot afford to sound “jaded” or “dejected” even if they are going through a particularly difficult period. Great sales people can manage their own confidence and self belief, irrespective of how bad things may be. They are eternal optimists and believe the next call or sales meeting will result in success, even if it doesn’t!
- Ethical and Honest - People buy from people they trust. Great sales people are ethical and honest, they take responsibility for their results and realise that a customer’s perception of their product and service is reflected by them. Most people want to buy from experts that they can trust and that has to be earned. Show me a sales person who has stayed in their role for over 5 years and consistently performed and I will show you someone who is ethical, honest and has an excellent awareness of their own personal brand.
- Being Brave – Do something scary every day. Push yourself. Put yourself out there. Great sales people tend to be braver than most. It is salespeople that have to pioneer and breakdown barriers as they build new client relationships and develop existing ones. They put their “personal brand” on the line everyday, persuading people to trust them. Great salespeople realise they have to be courageous, as they are in a role where their success or failure will be defined by the revenue they achieve against target and that this is beyond dispute. I would prefer you to have to apologise for something you may have done that hasn't worked out, rather than being scared to do it in the first place, or deciding it wouldn't work, or just procrastinating or worse still doing nothing at all!
That's our seven, what's yours? Are they so different? We'd like to hear from you. Send us yours - firstname.lastname@example.org.