What Makes the Perfect Salesperson?
Every industry, business, and sales manager has a different definition of what an ideal salesperson should be. Much of the time, what works for one doesn’t work for another.
Sometimes, luck and timing play huge roles in successful selling. Perfect can be quite subjective. Some may even argue that there is no such thing as a “perfect salesperson.” Despite these, two facts remain. First, hard work always pays off in the end. Second, some salespeople are better than others.
Let’s face it. There are the great salespeople who could probably sell ice to Eskimos, and there are the really bad ones who probably couldn’t sell water in a desert. What sets the good ones apart is their personality traits and determination, which make all the difference.
Here are our choices for the top 10 traits that make a “perfect” salesperson:
They don’t sell. They build.
Salespeople know this to be a fact. If you have a lot of friends before you take on a sales job, expect your circles to become smaller and smaller. This is because a typical salesperson fishes in their own circles before venturing out, which is quite understandable. After all, you might have friends who are really looking for what you are selling. Good salespeople handle this differently.
Instead of simply selling, they start building. They don’t just think “what’s in it for me.” Rather, they communicate, “I can help you with what you need. Let’s build together.” Connecting people to the things they need is much more powerful than selling them things you think they need. Great salespeople don’t look for specific people to sell to, they look for specific needs to address.
They make connections.
A good salesperson isn’t just after one client. They know that building a wide network of connections will help them in the long run. They go after referrals, not just deals.
They know that even if they can’t sell to a person, it is important to keep them on the sidelines. They understand the value of staying visible in the potential client’s line of sight in case another opportunity comes up either for a sale or referral. And this only happens if you make good connections.
A good salesperson’ circles are made up of clients who are probably connected to one another rather than clients who have nothing to do with one another.
They have good listening skills and empathy.
First of all, sympathy is the ability to feel sorrow, pity, and compassion towards another person’s situation. On the other hand, empathy is the ability to put one’s self in the shoes of another person. One’s good for charity, the other’s good for selling.
An ideal salesperson is believed to have high empathy. They can comprehend what the customer needs and find good solutions because they know how to listen well. While many people think that salespeople are all talk, the good ones actually listen more than they speak.
They are goal-oriented.
Salespeople are often under great pressure to hit their quotas, which is not an easy feat. The ability to stick to things and see them through even when times are tough is one of the traits that make a salesperson great. They call it grit.
According to Angela Duckworth, the author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, grit is one of the most important success predictors. The good news is that everyone can increase one’s inner grit level. Grit is composed of passion, perseverance, and courage.
They are meticulous.
If you’re sloppy, you will not only miss opportunities and breaks, but it is also downright embarrassing to the people you are selling to. Sales involve numbers, and numbers have to be precise.
If you’re not meticulous, people won’t trust you with their money. Second, a good salesperson’s ability to hone in on details about the client will help him find ways to offer solutions to a particular problem. This is downright crucial for B2B lead generation and conversion because they’re selling business solutions that could make or break an organization.
They are curious and they ask a lot of questions.
Good salespeople know when and how to ask questions without sounding pushy or making the prospect uncomfortable. The ability to engage a person in the conversation will deliver the same effect as it does in any other type of relationship. Make it stronger.
This ties directly into the need for good listening skills. You can’t exactly get away with asking a lot of questions if you don’t listen to the answers. Not only does it build your reputation as someone who cares, it also provides you with insights into a prospect’s interests, needs, likes, dislikes, and motivations.
They are good product or brand ambassadors.
The best sellers are the ones who can exude the same vibe as the products or services they are selling. For instance, if you are a salesperson for a luxury lifestyle brand, you cannot afford to look sloppy. After all, you will be selling to people who can afford the higher price tags, so you need to reflect the brand’s personality in your appearance and demeanor.
Genuine belief and trust in the product really show. While it is not necessary to actually use the product, you need to be a good ambassador of the brand. This ability to self-brand makes good salespeople stand out from the pack.
They create opportunities.
This could very well explain why top sales performers have their own group. An ideal salesperson would always surround himself or herself with like-minded people; the ones who are goal-oriented and driven.
They have little time for people who fall short of their own expectations. They don’t just surround themselves with high sales performers, but also like-minded people from other disciplines, friends, and clients who share the same drive that they do.
By surrounding themselves with birds of the same feather, they create more opportunities for themselves.
They don’t dismiss failed sales opportunities easily.
This doesn’t mean that they go after clients until they say yes. Rather, they park the car for now and wait for another opportunity to drive it again.
Good salespeople are also good judges of character. They know when to push and hold back. They don’t count failed deals as failures, but rather, a break or pause that could be pursued at a later time.
Lastly, they are optimistic.
This is probably the most important trait a good salesperson should have. The sales road is long and exhausting. Many raise the white flag when they experience failure and rejection time and time again. It takes a toll on the person, and it shows.
Good salespeople remain optimistic that the end of the road lies a pot of gold and that the narrow road will lead to a beautiful meadow. They remain hopeful that their hard work will always pay off.
Do you have these traits?
The good news is that good salespeople are not born, they are inspired. If you think you lack some of the traits, you can work on them slowly until the new traits become natural to you.
Sales training is not just about talking. It is also about goal-setting and changing one’s mindset from that of an average salesperson to that of a brilliant high performer.
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