Sunday, October 31, 2010

Secrets Of A Great Salesperson

Forbes has an article on their website called Secrets Of A Great Salesperson that covers five traits of a top performing sales person. One of the things I enjoy about sales is that all of the traits that bring success can be learned. Obviously there are people with natural abilities that with the right training will win in some situations but what I find is someone with average ability and a strong desire to learn and grow can beat the natural more times than not. That's partly because great natural ability can also become a crutch because natural ability can carry someone far without the extra hard work. So if you want to succeed in a field with a great return in time invested, sales can be a great option.

The five traits are good listening, integrity, teamwork, follow-through and swagger. A great salesperson has to work
 on all of these traits and be willing to have a certain amount of self awareness to see where s/he is falling short and in need of improvement. I'm not sure what I think is the most important of these five traits because you can't really be deficient in any of them. My perspective of "swagger" would be better termed "self confidence". This self confidence is an outcome of better training, better preparation and a better perspective of how to help the client. Swagger could come off as an arrogant type presence that seems to turn people off. The author of the article called this a natural talent but I would argue the self confidence can be learned as long as the top goal is to serve the customer. When the desire to benefit the customer is at a high level then the sales person is working from a different perspective that comes across as self confidence.

Integrity is the one trait of the five that seems to be most lacking in the business world. Too many people are willing to cut corners to make an extra buck. The author does a great job describing integrity. She puts it this way, "I am using the word 'integrity' in the context of a person's qualities of honesty, trust and consistency of character. If your customer doesn't trust you as a person, he or she is not going to buy from you." This type of perspective helps develop customers for life instead of just single transactions.

The short article is well worth reading and then doing some self examination to see where you may be lacking and then working on improving any area of weakness.

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