There are some key qualities that make up a successful salesperson. To succeed in sales, you need to succeed in each of these areas. As you read through each of these, take a look at yourself. How would you rank yourself in each of these areas? Is it a strength or is it something you need to work on? The first step to improvement is awareness. However, awareness alone, is not enough. At the end of each section, ask yourself what you could do to be better in this area and implement it immediately. Don’t put it off, but instead implement changes right away. This brings us to our first trait of a successful salesperson:
Your ability to adapt is vital in a constantly changing world. I don’t care what industry you’re in. It’s always changing. Those of us that are willing to change and adapt are going to be constantly ahead of the competition. This is a vital part of a successful salesperson.
Forward Thinking: Always look forward and know the coming changes. You need to know what to expect in order to adapt. So how do we do this? Here are some things you can do understand the coming changes:
- Listen to your customers and what they want
- Work with the other leaders of your company to know about trends
- Network with other people in your industry
- Subscribe to publications or online groups focused on your industry
- Use surveys to learn about coming changes or what customers expect
Say Yes: I understand that change is challenging. But what is more challenging is the refusal to adapt to change. Always find a way to say “yes” to change. This is a mindset, so put yourself into that can-do attitude and make it happen.
Don’t Wait: Many people out there wait until an entire industry has already changed before finally bringing themselves to align with those changes. Don’t do it! The person that is willing to change first will not only adapt first, but will also be rewarded. If your cellular phone provider always offered phones with 2-year-old technology, wouldn’t you move on to a company that had the latest in technology? Of course you would. Your customers expect you to deliver to the latest expectations of your industry. Don’t be left behind.
Adaptability means the difference of success or failure. A successful salesperson will always be willing to adapt to the constant changes of the world and industry.
2. Always a Student
Your personal development is an ongoing, never-ending process. As we spoke about earlier, change is a constant, so education should be as well to keep up with those changes. A successful salesperson will always towards bettering who you are through education.
That you’re reading this, shows that you understand the importance of always being a student, which is great! Here are some tips to help you with your learning and development:
- Subscribe to a newsletter or blog related to your industry
- Read books about your industry
- Product knowledge is a key factor in success so know the ins and outs of your products or services
- Know your competition and how you compare
- Educate yourself on your customers and prospects
3. The Right Appearance
A successful sales person presents themselves with a professional appearance. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are dressed up in a suit. The expected professional appearance can vary based on the position. There are some industries where walking in wearing a suit will get you thrown out in no time. On the flip side, if you’re in the investments industry, it’s expected that you’ll be dressed in a suit.
Make sure you’re presenting yourself properly with the right appearance.
Do you have the right to be having a conversation with someone about a product or service? What’s your background and how do your personal experiences give you the credibility to be deserving of your prospects time? Know your products. Know your services. Know your competition. Know your prospect. A successful salesperson provides the credibility without question.
5. Goal Planner
Proper planning is an absolute must when it comes to sales. What are your long-term goals? What short-term goals work up to those long-term goals? Do you have a plan in place? If not, it’s time to put one together. It’s important to have a clear and outlined plan that is broken down into smaller goals. A successful salesperson is always setting goals for themselves. More importantly, they always find a way to meet those goals.
What do you need to accomplish each day? Do you have that mapped out? There are great tools, such as Microsoft Outlook, that can help you with scheduling, task planning, email organization, and much more.
6. Charisma, Social Skills, and Communication
Communication is a requirement for any successful relationship. Often times, people get caught up in talking and don’t spend enough time listening. Listen to your prospect or customer. Advise them based on what they’re telling you and relate that to the product or service that you’re offering.
Many successful salespeople are charismatic and present strong social skills. If you struggle with this, submerge yourself into an environment where you’re forced to use your social skills. This will help you improve and become more comfortable in social environments. If you want to succeed in sales, you have to be social.
Successful salespeople are self-motivated. They don’t need someone telling them what to do. They just do it. You have to be motivated to succeed and do all of the things that are required to obtain that success.
Sometimes, you need to create your own successful environment if that environment doesn’t exist. You need motivation to be able to accomplish this. What is your environment like at home and at work? Make it positive and surround yourself with other motivated people. Stay away from the negative individuals. You don’t have time for that.
Unfortunately, a major part of sales is rejection. When I applied for my first sales position when I was young, the sales manager was direct and to the point. He told me that he wasn’t sure I could handle rejection, which was a major part of sales.
How did I overcome this? I used to be an actor. As an actor, you audition often, and every once in a while you land a role. However most of the time you didn’t get the part. My resilience allowed me to dig deep and analyze what I could have done differently so that the next time, I’d be one step closer to landing that role. I shared this with him and told him that a sales environment wasn’t any different. Every failure would give me a learning opportunity to better myself. I welcome rejection as long as I learn from it. With that said, he offered me the job. I actually didn’t take it, but that’s another story.
Salespeople must be confident, without being cocky. No one wants to do business with someone who is unsure of themselves. Be confident in your product or service. Be confident in yourself. Your confidence will build their confidence in you. Successful salespeople believe in themselves and know that they have what it takes to achieve positive results.
Always be honest. It only takes being caught in one tiny little lie for your reputation to be destroyed. Don’t ever let this happen. Your reputation is everything. The consequences of dishonesty simply aren’t worth it. Be a person of good character.
11. Personal Branding
A successful salesperson is always working towards personally branding themselves. They are constantly working towards making a name for themselves in a community or industry.
What are you doing to build your personal brand? Network, attend fundraisers, get involved in community events, or volunteer for something. Make a name for yourself; a name to be proud of. More importantly, you should be that person that others are proud to do business with.
Part of your personal branding is being a necessary value to others. Make yourself valuable. Rather than being looked at as a salesperson, be viewed as a resource that everyone needs.
12. Sense of Humor
One thing that is often missed is a sense of humor and fun-going personality. Have fun with what you’re doing. It will rub off on those around you, as long as it’s in an appropriate way.
Make people laugh. A sense of humor can do wonders for building trust quickly. Just don’t forget the real reason you’re there and be sure not to fall off track.
13. Work Hard and Play Hard
Last, it makes me sad to see a large majority of salespeople put all of their efforts into their job and not make time for themselves, their families, or friends. It’s important to work hard, but you need to play hard as well. A successful salesperson knows that working hard allows them to play hard, which equates to a vital work-life balance.
14. Asks for the Sale
I read a statistic that stated over 70% of people who didn’t buy a product or service would have if the salesperson simply asked for the sale. Way too many salespeople go through all of the steps and have earned the right to ask for the sale, but never actually do it. How disappointing is that? Don’t let this be you.
On another note, make sure that you have earned the right to ask for the sale by providing valuable information, being a solid resource, and building a trustful relationship.
A Final Note on a Successful Salesperson
Those who succeed in sales don’t have just a few of these qualities, but all of these qualities. If you struggle in any of these areas, work towards improving it. If you are willing to exceed expectations in all of these areas, you will be a successful salesperson.