If you’ve made the plunge and you have drive, desire and tenacity paired with a charming smile and armor like thick skin, then you have a good foundation to be a professional sales consultant. While not everyone is cut out to make it as a salesperson, there are certain traits that will guarantee a person’s success in ANY sales career. In addition to what’s listed here, there are a myriad of other traits, talents and skill sets that are either inherent or learned behaviors; keep in mind things like energy, enthusiasm and charisma can’t be learned. Here is my “Top 10 List” of traits that can be learned or developed, to be a successful salesperson.
- They create yeses. While we know that any salesperson hears “NO” far more than they hear that yes. A real sales pro creates yeses throughout their entire sales process. I read an article by Tom Hopkins titled “Question Right and Sink Your Teeth into Success.” This article is all about creating yes response with the use of tie-down questions, if you haven’t read it, find it and read it, it’s brilliant! On top of that in sales the key is to get at least 45 yeses to the BIG YES! The truly successful know how to ask the same question multiple ways to turn any question into a yes answer.
- They know the art to closing. That’s right closing is an art, closing needs to be consistent, closing is NOT an event, it is a process. Newer sales people believe that the “closer” will come over, wave their wand and close the prospect. That’s not so, the best sales “closers” are not the people that are given a title, but the salespeople that are consistently moving the sale forward, clearing blockage, answering questions and have the guts to ASK FOR THE SALE when the opportunity arises. Always close on the small opportunities and let minor decisions carry the major one.
- They understand selective listening. Okay, so how many times do you have to hear, “I’m just looking.” Before you know it’s a farce. People are trained to say “I’m just looking,” in fact, if you think about it; you have probably said it the last time you were at a department store – AND ACTUALLY NEEDED HELP! You may be trying to find just the right lawnmower blade for example, you’ve been around the store twice, looked high looked low, been to gardening, been to power tools, and the clerk approaches and says, “Can I help you find something?” and you respond with a resounding, “I’m just looking… thanks!” The pros know that most objections are smokescreens and they continue to move forward with the sale until they truly hit a wall. All of the “looking”, price objections and doctors’ appointments will not slow down a champion on the sales floor.
- They are sold on their beliefs. There are three main things you need to be sold on in sales. Yourself, Your Product and Your Management. If your belief in any one of these is tested you must be willing to say in no uncertain terms, “Here is why _____ is the best…” and give details. While it may be easy to say, it’s not just about saying it, it’s about the true belief and conviction when it’s stated. I was told by one of my mentor’s, “The only exchange for true sincerity is genuine belief.”
- They are in control of the questions. Whoever controls the questions controls the conversation and will control the sale. No matter what, a sale takes place, someone is sold, and someone wins. Ask yourself this… will it be you… or the prospect? I’ll give you a pretty easy way to tell the answer for those of you that need help; if no product changes hands then you are not the winner. Ask a lot of questions, get a lot of answers, take notes, provide top notch service and by providing a product that is congruent with the answers that were provided to your questions, you win!
- They can determine a question versus an objection. “Do you have any other colors?” Question or objection… you decide. It’s only a question. An objection is a statement or question that prevents the sale from moving any further forward. In the question above, nothing is stopping a true champion from moving any further, in most cases the answer is, “Yes, we do.” In our minds however we ASSUME that a question like the one above is an objection and we start creating our own objections far before the prospect ever has. We ask questions like, “Why? Do you not like _____?” Which leads the prospect to ask themselves if they really like the color, which often produces the objection. If you know the difference between a question and a real objection, you will create far less unnecessary roadblocks for yourself and your prospect.
- They know the #1 reason for the sale. You’re it. The salesperson IS the number one reason for the sale. Time in and time out, when happy customers are asked why they purchased a product, the number one response is, “because of our salesperson.” Champions, true pros know that products do not sell themselves; salespeople sell products.
- They know that persistence eliminates resistance. Successful salespeople know 10,000 different ways to ask the same question. Okay, that may be an exaggeration; however successful salespeople know how to apply pressure in a professional manner to make the sale. The old, “If I could, would ya’?” close is not in their Swiss Army repertoire of closes. They take the attitude to persist until!
- They know that sales is a career. We have all heard the old adage, “How do you define a job? That’s right J-O-B… Just Over Broke.” The most successful, I mean the elite, the pros they know that sales is a career. This is a destination, not just a stop along the way. They know that selling is THE HIGHEST PAID PROFESSION and are in pursuit of excellence, growth and know that through helping other people to get what they want, they as salespeople will get what they want as well. The return is in direct proportion to their service provided to others.
- They constantly train themselves AND their peers. The highest paid professionals that I have ever met and some of the highest paid professionals in the world are those that are constantly training themselves to be better than they are right now. They are constantly learning a new skill, a new closing technique, studying their product or teaching these things to the people they are surrounded by and they choose to surround themselves with. Not only are they learning new things, but they revisit those past tools that got them to where they are now. Just like a farmer checks their plow BEFORE it’s time for the harvest, the pros keep their skill set sharp so it is always at the ready when it’s needed. The most successful salespeople train their peers because they know that at some point, that “newbie” salesperson may be handling their customer when they are out of the office. I would want to know that the “newbie” is trained and proficient enough to handle that customer as brilliantly as I would be if I were to do it. So for yourself and those around you, PRACTICE, DRILL, REHEARSE, and REPEAT.
My suggestion, if you are one of the pros, one of the champions, one of the unstoppable when it comes to success, share your knowledge… find someone who needs your help and provide it, by adding to others you will gain, grow and multiply yourself. If you are new to sales or are reading this realizing you need help in one of these ten areas then seek out the elite, the top performers in your organization and ASK for help, find people that are good at doing these things I listed and you can replicate it.
Remember success leaves clues.