A colleague asked me to share my thoughts on the characteristics and qualities of great salespeople. I laughed because, at times, that can be a very long list! However, I agreed to give it some thought. And while I came up with a list that I will share with you, please understand, this list is not exhaustive. In fact, if you have a salesperson on staff with half of these qualities, then you have a very special person and your business will benefit.
A salesperson must be able to work independently. This doesn’t me that she eschews the concept of team, or doesn’t participate with or contribute to the team. It simply means that she must have the ability to work remotely without a great deal of supervision or guidance. She will be able to plan her day effectively, set goals and be able to develop plans and initiatives that align and contribute to her organization’s and customers’ overarching strategies.
A salesperson is a decisive. Oftentimes he finds himself in situations where he has to make important decisions for the company and is able to do so without corporate back and forth. Opportunities can pop up in minutes and go away in seconds. A good salesperson realizes this and will be able to make well thought-out decisions at a moments notice.
She has courage. I’m not talking about the type of courage that you find on the battle field, but the courage to go places and meet with people without hesitation. She is not overtly intimated by any account, buyer or situation. Prospecting and cold-calling don’t scare her. Guided by her independence, self-reliance, confidence and courage, she is able to represent her company with distinction and respond appropriately to any selling situation.
A great salesperson is able to influence his customers by articulating compelling value propositions where his customers will clearly see the financial benefits. He is well-liked and his customer views him as an authority within their vertical.
At all times, she comes across as a polished and informed sales professional. She knows the business intimately and is able to articulate her thoughts persuasively. She respects the business boundaries and responds appropriately to difficult selling situations. Moreover, she is a person of her word and doesn’t make promises that she cannot deliver on.
He keeps coming and coming. He is preserving and relentless in is his pursuit to close the sale. He’s not a pest or an annoyance, he simply does not give up. He finds a way through, around or over obstacles placed in front of him.
She is thick-skinned. She doesn’t take it personally. Hearing negatives doesn’t disappoint her or stop her from doing her job. She can take bad news. While she doesn’t like to hear the word “no” she takes is with respect and dignity, reassesses and responds appropriately.
He knows how to present his products, goods and services, and how to coordinate a dialogue with his customer. While he is persuasive and will encourage his buyer to open up, and he also knows the value of listening intently.
She is a great listener and incorporates the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle) into her selling situations. A great salesperson knows there is a great deal of value to active listening and encourages her prospects and customers to do most of the talking in the sales call. She knows that by listening intently, she will be able to learn her customer needs and develop strategies and solutions to fulfil those needs.
He knows everything there is to know about his products, his company and services. More importantly, he knows everything about his customers. He knows their needs, their competition, what motivates them, what angers them, how they buy, what they buy and why they buy. He understands the market and is a student of the business.
She is continually learning about her customer, her occupation and her profession. She also studies her products, her competitors and her customers; is a student of her craft and is always looking for ways to become a more informed, refined and professional salesperson.
He shares his knowledge with his colleagues and readily volunteers to mentor and teach younger, less experienced salespeople. If he comes up with a good idea that works and will benefit the organization, he passes that on so that others can realize similar success.
She is creative and finds creative ways to help her customers buy her product. She develops creative and impactful solutions to needs, problems and situations.
He is inquisitive and curious and wants to know why and is always exhaustively pursuing the “so what”. He asks questions – lots of them – and comes up with compelling solutions.
She is her own cheerleader and doesn’t need others or outsiders to motivate her. She is self-motivated and ready each day to pursue her passion and vision and allows her daily inspiration to fuel her passion for selling.
He is a teammate and follows the team leadership respectfully; he contributes to others success and to the team as a whole.
She is a leader and is accustomed to going first and providing training, education, insight and support to others on the team. She doesn’t hesitate or waver in her commitment to the company, her teammates and to her customers.
He is ethical and works with honesty and integrity. He doesn’t cheat, lie or steal and proudly represents his company and will never deceive his customers, defame his competitors, or compromise his morals to make a sale.
This list is not exhaustive. No doubt, you have some things that you can add to it as well. The bottom line is that if you have employees – sales or not – that exhibit the characteristics above, then you have some very special people in your organization. Those people will be able to provide unassailable leadership, teaching, and sales growth for many years to come.