In the first of this series of articles we looked at the way in which the strategy of selling now requires a combination of modern and traditional sales techniques. In this article we explore this mix of techniques further, and examine the characteristics of a successful salesperson.
Is it only about selling with noble purpose?
Lisa Earle Mcleod wrote her book “Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud” after researching a biotech company’s six-month study of its sales force. The company’s study found that those salespeople that sold with a sense of purpose sold best. The real power sales were made by those that had what the company termed a ‘noble purpose’ – they wanted to make a real difference to their clients and were not focused solely on profit.
But how does this translate into the characteristics of a successful salesperson?
Customers buy the solution to a problem not the product
When someone buys a hammer, they don’t necessarily want the hammer; rather, they need a nail in a wall. They have a wall, a picture, and a nail. The problem they have is getting the nail in the wall: the hammer is the solution to that problem.
Customers buy from someone they like and trust
Having established that people buy a solution to their problem, the next step is to understand that, no matter the solution, people buy from people. A person will deal with someone they like and trust. If this doesn’t exist, the sale will fall through no matter how good the product.
The 7 characteristics of a successful salesperson
A customer moves through three phases of attachment during the sales process.
First, he or she makes a rapid assessment of the salesperson’s character. They must conclude that they both like and trust the salesperson before they will listen further. At this point, they will listen to the salesperson’s solution to the problem.
Without the personality traits that create like and trust, a salesperson will never reach full potential. However, the salesperson must also have the character that leads them to succeed.
Here are seven characteristics that we have identified as key to success:
A successful salesperson maintains his or her discipline at every stage. Cold calls are made diligently, leads are comprehensively qualified, and sales meetings are followed up. When they promise to do something, they follow through.
Captivating conversation starts with product and service knowledge, but continues with an easy and engaging manner. Difficult concepts are explained in simple language, and the salesperson is able to listen and ask questions, answer inquiries and concerns.
Salespersons must be motivated to succeed. They should have belief in the product, the company’s values, and, most importantly, the motivation to ensure that the customer’s needs are satisfied – and that includes ongoing needs (which lead to upselling opportunities).
4. Lazily energetic!
The best salespeople are rarely ever the busiest. They economize their time, rather than using busy scheules as a status symbol. They have well-honed skills to ensure that their cold call success is high (we will look at cold calling in a few weeks) and they are potent closers. In other words, they look for simple but comprehensive solutions.
5. Accept responsibility
The salesperson must accept responsibility for the sale. Ideally, they should not seek excuses for a poor sale or deflect positive feedback from a success. This acceptance of responsibility creates tremendous power to find selling solutions. Salespeople who take responsibility build trust with customers.
Even the very best salespeople face rejection, and learn that it is part of the job. However, while resilient to rejection, the best salespeople can ask themselves why they were rejected without feeling judgement. With the responsibility for rejection identified, the salesperson can take action to learn and improve.
7. Emotional Intelligence
Salespeople who have strong emotional intelligence have highly developed skills to identify and manage both their own emotions and those of others. They understand how to recognize what customers feel, how they are likely to react, and are able to communicate effectively and with empathy. These qualities that help to build the trust that is necessary for high performance sales.
Customers need to feel confident not only about the product but also the salesperson. Salespeople who think less about the money and more about the customer are those that have the greatest sales numbers.
The characteristics of a successful salesperson that we’ve highlighted above will provide a path to high-performance sales. They will propel your organization to increased revenues, higher margins, and greater profitability.
At Forward Focus, we work with sales teams and salespeople to increase their emotional intelligence and improve the characteristics that smooth the path to exponentially increasing sales. Contact Forward Focus today to discover how our Integrity Selling Course will propel your sales team to the next level.