Today I would like to look deeper into some of the crucial characteristics a successful salesperson is “made of” and discuss how to develop them. A salesperson, or their selling process, could be compared with a pharmacy and the employees working within it. For every concern and issue there is a formula—it just needs to be adapted individually for each specific case. Each formula consists of basic ingredients that never change, but the mix makes for different outcomes, customized for each individual use.
It’s the same with sales. The basic ingredients include:
- Being authentic
- Being passionate about what you are doing
- Being trustworthy
- Being compassionate
- Having endurance and perseverance
Building trust and loyalty with the prospective customer is always the outcome you’re looking for.
Selling is all about making connections—connecting through your words and your actions. Connecting is actually quite easy and something everybody does in their private lives; you just need to learn it as part of selling.
From the first point of connection on, it becomes crucial to lead the conversation in a way that your partner in the conversation is open about their pain points, needs and limitations. If there is authenticity on both sides, an open conversation can just happen. This means that both partners are in a dialogue, are listening carefully, and responding to topics as they are brought up—but at the same time staying true to their personalities and their values.
I see two very important skills required when engaged in sales conversations:
1. Listening to the other person, not sticking to a fixed protocol or concept of how to sell the product or service. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution that can be applied to every customer.
This is exactly what differentiates an excellent salesperson from one who is merely good.
Calculate the right formula for your individual client, and mix the ingredients that precisely meet their needs. Only then will your customer believe in your abilities come back again.
2. Many sales reps go into a sales conversation armed with a lot of information about their prospect—which is absolutely the right way to be prepared! What they fail to do, however, is adapt their own personality and style of leading a conversation to that knowledge of the prospect. Stay true to yourself and your way of conversing. Don’t pretend, or “become” someone who doesn’t comply with your true self.
I know that the word “authenticity” is often overused, especially in connection with sales. We should use the term advisedly, for authenticity alone doesn’t make for a great salesperson. In a mix with all the other “ingredients” listed here, though, it is crucial for success and building sustainable relationships with your customer.
Here is a great, simple definition of the word which fully explains the context in which I am using it: “Being authentic means to be congruent in what we say and what we do.”
In mixing together the ingredients for your presentation, always make sure to be honest about your promises–your products, services and timeframes. Then, stick with what you promise.
Nothing is more damaging to a salesperson or a company than unfulfilled promises, especially when conditions never existed under which the promises could be fulfilled. When you make promises, your customer believes you. Breaking those promises destroys that belief.
This leads me to the next crucial ingredients.
Trustworthiness and Compassion
When you are authentic, listen to your customer, keep your promises, and demonstrate to your customer that you can “walk in their shoes,” you build a sustainable relationship based on trustworthiness.
When the client feels that you really care about their problems and pain points, and have their best interests in mind, you gain their trust and loyalty.
Here’s a real-life example to underscore this concept, recently related to me by a friend who was dealing with a serious health issue. She visited a doctor and obtained a treatment plan, but she wasn’t sure if it was the best solution for her issue. She went to another doctor for a second opinion, and this second doctor offered a treatment plan that made much more sense to my friend—it was less painful and had fewer side effects. The doctor carefully explained this option and answered all of my friend’s questions.
After visiting the second doctor, my friend went back to the first doctor and asked him why he hadn’t offered her other options. She asked him a crucial question: “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” The doctor looked kind of dazed and said, “I’ve never thought about it that way.” My friend turned around and never visited that doctor again.
Real connection can just happen through open-mindedness, authenticity, acceptance of other opinions, being able to express emotions in an appropriate way and being thoughtful and compassionate.
Endurance and Perseverance
Only if you are passionate about what you are doing and true to yourself, can you develop endurance and perseverance?
Someone once said,”Sales is an effort to beat the odds of rejection.” Rejection happens every day in the lives of salespeople—it is part of the job description. That doesn’t mean rejection is easy to overcome and handle in the right way. But if you have learned your lessons well and implemented the tools to handle such situations right, you will be able to turn every obstacle into an opportunity and follow your passion with endurance. If one solution that you have offered the client is not the right one, look for another one. Put together a new mix and think about a new “treatment plan.”
I like the picture of the pharmacy, where all the different ingredients are available. But only in the right mix will they provide the one and only solution for each and every client individually!
We at SalesPOP! offer you a wide range of different ingredients, as well as ready-made mixes, that can be adapted to your individual needs. Just come in, explore and take advantage of them!