What Makes a Good Salesperson? The 11 Traits They Share
Sales is about connecting with people, gaining their trust, and finding the right solution to solve their problems or fill a need. That goes beyond being a people person that can talk to anyone or simply being enthusiastic.
How To Be A Good Salesperson
Being a great salesperson takes a combination of skills and discipline. While each sales person may have a different style and approach, the best sales people share these common traits.
They understand customer needs
It wasn’t that long ago that you could get a customer to sit down for an extended CNA (customer needs analysis). These days, they don’t have time for you. They expect you to already understand their business and their problems. If you don’t know, you may not get in the door.
ACTION STEP: Do your research ahead of time. So much information about companies and their industries is available online, it’s not hard to find out about them. The more you know about their situation, the faster you will build trust.
They are emphatic listeners
Before a sale happens, the buyer has to develop trust and respect for the sales person. Being a good listener will demonstrate your interest. Being emphatic will help you anticipate their needs.
ACTION STEP: Ask questions and listen. In fact, listen more than you talk. You have to understand the problem before you can suggest the right solution. When you do present a solution, feed back what you’ve learned and demonstrate you took the time to listen.
They are aware of what’s happening in the industry
One of the key qualities of a good salesperson is to be inquisitive. You need to be on top of industry trends and developments within your customer’s industry.
ACTION STEP: Be fluent in social media, industry publications, niche news sites. Ask lots of questions so that you have a deep understanding of how these trends affect your customer’s business.
They are adaptable
Regardless of the products and services you have to sell, what makes a good salesperson is the ability to create custom solutions to unique problems. They have the ability to adapt and improvise. They really are more concerned with meeting a customer’s goals than their own.
ACTION STEP: Understand your product line so that you can quickly identify the right solution. Know your limitations and where you can be flexible without having to go talk to a manager.
They see the big picture
A strong sales representative has the ability to see the big picture. They don’t sacrifice the long-term for the short-term gain.
ACTION STEP: Always keep your customer in the forefront of everything you do. Your job is to provide real value and meet customer needs. All that matters, in the end, is results. That means making sure the solution you present works for the customer.
They keep their funnel full
Sales is a process. You don’t get to the close without prospecting, qualifying, and driving potential buyers through the sales funnel. If there aren’t enough prospects going into the top of the funnel, there won’t be enough sales coming out of the bottom.
ACTION STEP: Set time aside each day or each week for active prospecting. Mark it on your calendar and block out the time. Consider sales training on prospecting.
They know their numbers
How many attempts does it really take to get to a decision-maker? How many calls will it take to close the sale? Knowing metrics helps you stay focused on driving the process forward.
ACTION STEP: Decide which metrics are important to track and set up a way to track them. Don’t rely on just the company’s tracking. Set your own goals and track against them.
They are resilient
Even the best sales people are going to hear no (a lot). The ability to put it behind you and move on again is what separates salesperson, from the pack. It may vary in your industry, but it takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer.
ACTION STEP: Never stop. When you feel yourself getting down, get back up and go sell something. Make that extra phone call or extra sales call. Connect with a satisfied customer to remind yourself that what you do matters and what you sell works.
They are passionate
One of the key qualities of a good salesperson is passion. They are passionate about their company, passionate about their products or services, and passionate about their customers. Top performing sales people exude passion.
ACTION STEP: Find the things that get you excited. Whether that is building relationships, solving problems, closing sales, or something else, you need to find what fuels you.
They are consummate multi-taskers
These days it’s all about juggling daily tasks while making sure you are focusing on the right things. It’s way too easy to get sidetracked answering emails and calls, sitting in meetings, or handling behind-the-scenes activities. While they may be a necessary part of the job, they can make you feel productive while not helping you move customers through the buying journey.
ACTION STEP: Carve out time for the important things and don’t let anything detract from that. Schedule it on your calendar and stick to it. Relegate necessary, but less important tasks to the beginning or end of the day. A robust CRM, filing system and calendar can help you stay organised.
They are always looking for a better way
If you want to learn how to be a good salesperson, there’s no better way than to be always learning. As a sales representative, you need to be a life-long learner.
ACTION STEP: Make an investment in yourself. Talk to your co-workers about what works for them. Reach out to others in your company. Talk to your customers. Finally, get regular sales training. If your company doesn’t provide it, consider getting it on your own. When your paycheck depends on making sales, you want to be the best you can.
The Path To Success
Sales is not an easy job by any stretch. It’s not always fun. It’s hard work. It is, however, rewarding. Great sales people develop relationships and solve problems. They help others grow their businesses. The best love the challenge and enjoy the chase. They celebrate when they get the win and they work harder when the sale doesn’t happen.
How many of these traits do you have? Emulating the traits of top sales performers can help put you on the path to success.