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Skills, Attitude or Product Knowledge: What Really Makes a Good Salesperson?
Blog / For Sales Pros / Nov 3, 2017 / Posted by Philip Piletic / 9326

Skills, Attitude or Product Knowledge: What Really Makes a Good Salesperson?

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It’s the age-old question that has been asked since the beginning of time (or at least since the beginning of sales): What makes a good salesperson? Is it attitude? Is it skills? Is it knowledge of the product? You will find someone sitting on of the three fences. But what really is the answer?

The thing is, when you are dealing with people at any time, for anything, you are always dealing with different psychological profiles. This case holds especially true when in sales. You’re dealing with people from many different walks of life, a vast array of life experiences and an infinite amount of different views on how they feel the buying experience should feel like for them.

Hire Good Attitude, Train Them How to Be Salespeople Approach

There are some success stories out there covering each angle. One such success story comes from a Lexus dealership in Seattle. They have taken on the belief system that says it is better to hire someone with a great attitude and then teach them sales.

Erika Olson,the Lexus dealership’s sales director explains to Auto News that, in her personal experience, when you hire people who have a great skill record for selling cars, these type of salespeople don’t know how their previous dealership was doing financially or never really cared. All they cared about was their numbers.

The dealership’s General Manager Jason Vena further goes onto to tell how, in building a new sales culture within their Lexus dealership, they feel it is important to find people who are not necessarily salespeople and don’t really care what their numbers were at the end of the day. Olson wants to hire people who have a “genuine outlook on selling cars.”

So far, the Seattle-based dealership has seen good success in their hiring model. They’re not selling around 200 cars a month. And where they used to sell only 90 used cars a month, now they are selling 120 used cars a month.

Others Say the Above Mentioned Example Has Flaws

Then there is the other camp. They claim that this approach is inherently flawed and bound to fail – eventually. Some of these experts say that, though they somewhat agree with the first method proposed, it is missing what they call “sales onboarding.” This is the training program where the future salesperson learns the necessary skills and knowledge needed in order to do the job at hand.

The claim is that once the salesperson completes the in-house process, the management team will have a certain amount of performance expectations: What he or she knows, is able to do and use out on the sales floor. Without the correct curriculum, they say, how can you be sure the salesperson will actually do what it is you expect. Then of course, these same experts want you to download or sign up for their curriculum in order to “help” you along.

The Logical Conclusion Is That It Is Anyone’s Guess What Makes a Good Salesperson

The most logical conclusion anyone could come to, if they are honest, is that their is no magic potion that makes a good salesperson.The truth of the matter is, customers can go from store to store until they find that one salesperson whom they “click” with; that one person whom they trust what it is they’re “selling” to them.

Every sales consultant you speak to will say it something different that makes sales. Whether it is knowledge and knowhow that made the customer feel like they could trust this particular guy or gal: this is true. It does happen like that. But then again, you will have sales consultants who say it was the salesperson’s great attitude and manner of dealing with customers: that, too, is true.

What it might actually be is that it isn’t skill, attitude or knowledge that matters at all in the end. What is the deciding factor is understanding the customer’s point of view. This means having a great emotional intelligence and a knack in understanding each individual you meet on the sales floor.

It isn’t easy to to find people who have good emotional intelligence. They can download examples of a short sample cover letter, create the perfect resume, kill the interview with their great attitude, and generally do everything there is to impress. But at the end of the day, it is all about understand the customer’s emotions. Maybe that Lexus car dealership in Seattle has figured out some magic equation. Yet again, maybe they’re just a rare breed.

Pipeliner CRM empowers salespeople to “click” with buyers. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.

About Author

His primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. Freelancer and writer, in love with startups, traveling and helping others get their ideas off the ground. Unwinds with a glass of scotch and some indie rock on vinyl.

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