I am currently involved with some sales training at Herman Miller and it set me off thinking about the attributes people look for in a sales person. So here in true Workessence style I offer my top 10 list.
- Integrity – in my view the most important attribute, especially if you want to keep customers and gain recommendations.
- Great questioning skills – this is about asking questions which elicit full and detailed responses. Look back at a conversation that you have had with a great communicator and you will see that conversation was full of great questions.
- A listener – how many times have we heard that selling is all about the ‘gift of the gab’, when in fact the ability to listen is so much more important. Don’t ask questions if you are not prepared to listen. Selling is not telling.
- Empathetic– imagining yourself in your prospective customer’s situation will equip you to communicate in a much more effective manner.
- Prompt and efficient – stick to your agreed timetables, and do everything in your power to never be late for a meeting.
- Inquisitive – especially about your prospect’s business. I’m amazed that I still get calls from salespeople who haven’t even bothered to find out what my company does – in this digital age that is totally unacceptable .
- Prescient – foresight is so much easier with 2, 3 and 6
- Supportive – be aware that the person that you are dealing with may be working hard to sell their ideas within their own organisation. Look for ways to support them in every way you know how.
- Take responsibility – whatever you do, avoid adopting a stance of blame if something goes wrong. That way you can enjoy the credit when it goes right.
- Stay involved – your role might be all about getting new business, but don’t adopt a hit and run attitude. You may not be the project manager but stay interested and connected along the way.
Selling is not rocket science and much of it is common sense – sadly that common sense sometime goes out of the window when people get into sales mode.