It’s often been said that a successful sales person is more about personality traits than just a set of key skills. At Professional Academy this is something we believe can be trained and developed as much as a key skill set, but more about that later. So what traits are essential in a good sales person? We decided to look at this much like the Marketing Mix theory we looked at last week, by breaking the traits into the 7 P’s that should be possessed by any decent sales person.
The best sales people are happy sales people. The first and simplest tip ever taught to sales people is smile when you are selling - whether that is in person or whilst you are on the phone. Some go further and say you should smile whilst typing an email because that positive perception can sway a potential customer in your favour. No one likes a grumpy sales person. This trait also has the added benefit of helping a sales person through the tough sales months (which do happen), allowing them to keep morale high in the office.
People don’t just buy into the product or service you are selling, they buy into you personally. The passion you carry for what you do and what you are selling is a selling point in itself. A sales person should also be an ambassador for the business and should excite people about what they are buying so when that interaction is over, even if they haven’t purchased anything yet, the customer should walk away feeling positive about the product/service knowing how beneficial it would be to have in their life.
Some of the best sales people we have seen (especially in the technical industry) are ex-engineers. Why? Because they have not only the passion for the product and the company but they know all the ins and outs of the product. Having this key knowledge allows a sales person to play matchmaker between customer and product/service increasing the chances of a better match and a happy customer.
Most sales don’t happen upon the first interaction - in fact it takes on average 7 interactions to convert a lead into a sale. The benefit of developments in technology mean this can be done in many ways nowadays, whether it is via email, telephone, connecting on LinkedIn or sending some good old fashioned postal mail. If a sales person gives up after 2 voicemails and a couple of emails then they could be missing out on sales just a couple of calls/emails later.
This is not only key as a partner of the Persistence trait but also in regards to a sales person’s relationship with the customer. Not all customers will be able to purchase something instantly, especially a high value item. There may also be several hurdles along the way and questions may come in a long stream of back and forth emails but you can’t push a customer to purchase before they are ready as it is more likely it will turn them off the purchase than push them towards finalising. Take your time and work at the customers pace and not your own.
A sales person should approach each sale as not selling a product or service but solving a customer’s problem. How can this product or service improve their life? Once you approach a sale from that perspective and step into the customer's shoes the process will become more natural and any other issues encountered on the path to a completed sale should become simple to overcome for a sales person and customer alike.
Ok we may have struggled to find a P to convey listening here, but Listening is probably the most essential skill for a sales person. Listening to what your customer wants allows a sales person to solve their problems and it enables a sales person to build a relationship with the customer and most importantly it means you know what the customer actually needs. However, instead of dictating this to them they are allowed to arrive at the conclusion themselves with the advice and guidance provided.
So what next if you are (or have a team of sales people) who possess these key character traits? Well, the next step is to turn them from great sales professionals into exceptional sales people.
This can be done by building on these key traits and adding a level of developed sales training from the experts at Professional Academy and the ISM. Whether you are looking to train on the basics of telesales or more advanced account management skills, the ISM & Professional Academy have put together a set of qualifications and courses that really do help a sales professional grow and develop in the world of Sales.