What Does It Take to Be a Professional Salesperson?

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Whenever sales managers get together one of the major subjects is the high turnover or churn of their team and the difficulty in finding the “right” replacement. 

What’s the cause of this problem?

Well try this bit of research. In a study on sales effectiveness by Caliper Corporation, a US human resources consulting firm, they found that more than 55% of the salespeople studied had no ability to sell. Another 25% have sales ability but are selling the wrong product or service!

What does that say about the sales recruiting process?

There’s a massive cost to this as well. Time and money wasted on recruiting, training and managing those who do not have the ability to succeed. Plus, the lost business and lost opportunities caused by the turnover.

Key salesperson attributes

It takes a very special person to find, develop and then ask for business assertively andtake the inevitable amount of rejection involved. What kinds of people are motivated to expose themselves to the challenges that salespeople must endure to make a living?

Here’s my top 5 attributes:

  1. Strong positive attitude and confidence
  2. Great listener and highly empathetic
  3. Are always accountable
  4. Well prepared
  5. Easily build and sustain relationships

Think about it. Those salespeople in the top echelon of performers in your team will most likely have most or all of these attributes. Particularly the top 3.

Successful salespeople are those who have emerged strong out of the most difficult of situations. They face them with a positive attitude; learning from them and always seeing light at the end of the tunnel. They believe in the phrase “no doesn’t always mean no”. 

Empathetic salespeople are great listeners. They ask questions important to the customer and respond accordingly. Their empathy also allows them to provide strong service by putting themselves in the customers shoes.  
The truly great salesperson takes complete responsibility for their action and their work; and do it with full dignity and respect. They hold nobody but themselves accountable for the outcomes of their recommendations. 
The difference

The difference between good and great salespeople is staggering. The good ones hit their target most of the time. Great ones consistently exceed the targets. Good reps earn their prospects’ trust and respect. Great reps earn their prospects’ admiration, loyalty, and referrals. Good salespeople handle objections while those who are great avoid objections by raising concerns in advance and making them disappear.

The key is to recruit the potentially great performers with those 5 key attributes.

Until next week, good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]