What makes a successful salesperson?

What makes a successful salesperson?

What makes a successful salesperson?

If I had the definitive answer to this question I’d package it and sell it on eBay! Salespeople are often compared to athletes due to their competitiveness and drive to succeed. That all starts with the mindset, but with the company’s revenue and growth at stake how do you find these athletic salespeople that can effectively generate leads and execute deals?

Tell me, when you picture a salesperson in your mind, what do you see? Someone who is energetic, enthusiastic, driven and determined? Of course all these are very important, but there are also key character traits to look out for.

  1. Self Awareness
    Being aware of one’s self and their impact on a client (existing and potential) is critical to make sure they are connecting with them when executing the deal.
  2. Able to build empathy
    Building empathy is a critical skill that salespeople must have if they are to be successful. Know, like and trust is well worn phrase but here it is vital. If the potential customer can feel trust and feel comfortable with the person they are buying from, the product and price almost becomes secondary. By building empathy, the salesperson is able to elicit the problems and needs of a client, always moving the client towards the closing of the deal. Can the salesperson put themselves into someone else’s shoes and demonstrate understanding?
  3. Listen and be inquisitive
    This is the most important aspect of any sales process. Does the salesperson feel comfortable with building rapport that gets the prospect talking and then asking them the right questions to establish pain points.
  4. Ability to infer and adapt
    Good sales people can make inferences and are able to read between the lines to understand the real meaning behind their prospects words. If they run into unexpected issues, they need to be able to adapt and reframe the sales quickly to work through the true pain points of the prospect.
  5. Communicate effectively
    Perhaps this is an obvious one, but communicating in the right way can win or lose a deal. They need to be able to speak persuasively, effectively and concisely – and not just to fill awkward silences! They need to be able to adjust their tone, diction and speed of delivery to match the flow of their prospect.
  6. Patience
    Often overlooked, but patience is a key skill that good salespeople need to exhibit. Trying to close the deal too early can be ruinous! Salespeople that have the ability to nurture leads over the course of weeks or months will be far more successful.
  7. Ability to solve problems
    Salespeople create a bridge between the problem and providing the solution. In building this bridge, the salesperson must take the prospect on a journey, demonstrating the logical sequence of events until it results in a sale.

It’s a fact of business that even the most outstanding salesperson can show signs of wear and tear over time. It’s important, as an employer, not to underestimate how much of themselves a salesperson puts on the line every time they are in front of a prospect (or on the phone). There are only so many times a true salesperson can hear the word ‘No’ before it can start to affect their self belief – in their ability and themselves on a personal level.

As your business relies on sales for revenue and continued growth, how much of your budget do you set aside to keep your team empowered? If you’re self employed, and rely on your own ability to keep the business going, do you set aside a budget for this? I’d be genuinely interested to know, so please do comment below.

For more on recruiting salespeople take a look at the latest blog post ‘How to recruit salespeople‘ which also includes a free checklist.


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