What does it take to be a great salesperson?

Posted on Posted in Sales

“Great salespeople are relationship builders who provide value and help their customers win.” – Jeffrey Gitomer, author, professional speaker and business coach

Yes, that’s exactly what a good salesperson is, a relationship builder. In fact, everything about making a sale rides on how skilled you are at winning over a customer.

75% of sales posts are filled by extroverts. Well, that makes sense, I hear you say. You’re probably also thinking that to be in sales you need to have the gift of the gab, right? Well actually, you’d be completely wrong! The true sales professional has the gift of the ear and the ability to discern.

In other words, a good salesperson has the uncanny ability to listen and really hear what a customer needs. What’s more, a good salesperson can understand and identify exactly what the problem is – and then articulate a solution to meet the customer’s exact needs.

Often, this is a skill which the confident extrovert is unable to cultivate. He prefers listening to himself speak rather than be quiet and listen to what the customer wants.

Next time you employ a new salesperson keep this in mind and think more seriously about employing a self-assured introvert. They are known to be great listeners and observers.  

In fact, the sales profession has evolved, and it requires a very different personality to the extroverted charmer of the past.

At one time you merely had to pitch up at a prospect to gain entrance to the decision maker. Today it takes a lot more research, observation and guile. Gatekeepers are far more astute at denying a salesperson access. Even security guards have become a block.

Here are the 7 traits of a great salesperson:

    1. A good listener – This means you really need to open your ears and your mind to listen and decide what your customer needs.
    2. The ability to observe and think – Yes, we all think! However, only some of us can observe a situation in order to think it through and get the desired results.
    3. Understanding – No matter what the customer’s problem, a great salesperson is able to understand and help.
    4. A great planner – A salesperson must be strategic and have the ability to plan out a sales strategy. A clearly defined and well-implemented plan will always yield excellent sales results.
    5. Consistent and reliable – All charm and zero backup will not win a customer. In fact, recent studies have shown that the best results are achieved when a salesperson plans properly and is consistent in follow-through.
    6. Empathy – It’s not about what you want. It’s about what your customer needs. The ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes is already half the race won.
    7. Guile – It’s a fine line between being smart and coming across as manipulative. A great salesperson thinks astutely and is always steps ahead of the customer to help fulfil a need.

The point is customers have wised up to pushy salespeople selling empty promises. They are looking for value; something that will improve their business. They will only consider dealing with the salesperson who can deliver this value to them.

A customer buys:

  • To save money
  • To make money
  • To improve efficiencies
  • To save time
  • To get an edge on the competition

Always keep this in mind and you will get a foot in the front door. If you’re a great salesperson, well then that is all you’ll need to gain a sale.

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