Today’s sales world is so incredibly different than it was ten years ago, or even five. Today’s salesperson works in an extremely complex and fast-paced global environment with tools like the Cloud, laptops, iPad’s, iPhones, social media and apps that allow you to connect anywhere at any time of the day or night. You can easily be in Melbourne working with a client in Brisbane or London.
To be a good sales person you therefore need to embrace technology and use it to your advantage. Further, you need to constantly seek to learn and be curious, ask good questions and be an active listener. Having the ability to listen, genuinely being interested in having your client’s/ customers best interests at heart, understanding their problems or opportunities and being realistic about your ability to add value, is key.
“People don’t buy products they buy solutions to their problems”
It important to remember that you will never understand your client’s business half as well as they do, so failing to ask intelligent questions will leave you behind your competition.
Just as everyone is different, such as; extraverts, introverts, detailed people, those who are facts and figures focused, big picture people, those with auditory preferences (like to hear things), visual preferences (like to imagine solutions) or kinesthetic preferences (feels things, relies on gut feel), sales people can also be successful in many different guises. At Selection Partners, for example, we personality test everyone who works for us, and within our merry band of consultants I think we have every personality box ticked.
If personality isn’t what makes someone good at sales, what does then? When I googled, there literally thousands of articles (743,000 in fact) detailing the traits or attributes of good sales people.
Many of the traits or attributes apply to many roles not just sales such as;
• Problems solving
Whilst all of the above are important, for me what I see as the most important traits which make a good sales person is; showing up and doing what you need to do to be successful every day. Focusing on the activities that make you successful even when you don’t feel like it. Being tenacious, being diligent and showing up at work being passionate about the job. Treating every conversation like your life depends on it, for me is what makes someone good at sales.
Being a good sales person has less to do with ability, and more to do with choice. Someone with two years of sales experience for example, can significantly outperform someone with ten years’ experience, if they do what needs to be done more often and consistently. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.
If you choose to spend your time doing the ‘right things’ then you will be a good, if not a great sales person. It’s really simple, and I watch it unfold every day at work.