Nowadays there are still many stereotypes about what a successful salesperson must be like and how they must act. The general opinion is that all successful salespeople are very outgoing, communicative and highly confident. But is that always the case and is there really a ‘desired personality’ for salespeople, those who close the deal faster than others? If the answer to that question is YES, then why has the old 80/20 rule proven to be true in numerous companies? Why do only 20% of salespeople close deals, if they all have the same characteristics?
While the ‘stereotypical’ characteristics may be an added bonus to the personality of a successful salesperson, there are 5 key qualities that highly successful salespeople undoubtedly possess: empathy, persistence, courage, focus and loyalty.
They are stepping into the customer’s shoes. They are able to identify with the customer and to understand their concerns and needs. They are on ‘the customer’s side’ and becoming someone who wants to help the customer, not just sell to them. Customers really appreciate that dedication and feel like they have found a partner in the salesperson, someone that they can rely on when needing a solution to their problem. That is why empathy is an extraordinarily valuable trait for salespeople to both have and develop.
Ask any salesperson with some years of experience about how many times they have heard the word ‘NO’. The answer is always ‘too many to count’. But still, they are out there, continuing with what they do and not getting downhearted easily, which is a hard thing to do, especially when starting in sales. By being persistent, successful salespeople are not just doing themselves a favour, but they are also continuously engaging with the customer and offering them different ways to connect. They are showing them that they are not just trying to sell them something and won’t quit on the first try, but that they are really making an effort, have a reason to get in touch with them specifically and help them over others.
As with any profession, success doesn’t happen overnight, and being persistent is a must, especially in sales.
Yes, hearing ‘NO’ over and over can be demotivating and not knowing whether or not someone is going to yell at you over the phone can be scary, but in order to be a successful salesperson you can’t allow yourself to be scared! Rude potential customers are just humans after all, and can sometimes react impulsively because they are getting tons of cold calls and cold emails daily, but it has nothing to do with you personally, so just get over it, chin up, and on to the next thing on your agenda! For some people, this might be harder to do than for others, but again, like any of these characteristics, it can be developed over time if the salesperson makes the effort to do that. There’s really no other option here – being scared of being rejected or yelled at makes you avoid the situations that may cause that to happen, which means you’re just cancelling tasks, making excuses and going nowhere – so efforts must be made! Every time you’re being put down, don’t let it get to you – get up ASAP and continue with your work. In the end this will contribute to the things you’ll be learning everyday about how to be good at sales.
Eyes on the prize! Focus is extremely important for reaching your goals faster but also for interacting better with customers. We all know how easy it is to get distracted in a typical office today, when app notifications are being thrown at you every minute or when a chat with a co-worker seamlessly turns into a whole hour-long debate. But remember, value your time and understand what you need to do to be successful and eventually close the deal. Act with a purpose and get your mind deeply focused on every part of your work.
Focus combined with empathy can be a definition of a successful salesperson and is probably the best combination of characteristics to have in order to be good at sales. It sets the basis for not just being good, but becoming extraordinary, and seeing a salesperson who has and knows how to use both is like listening to a beautiful composition, where every note is in the perfect place.
Your job doesn’t end with closing the deal and that’s something that all successful salespeople know. Being there for the customer, stepping in when they are dealing with a problem and offering post-sales support is what makes the customer stick with you and not change to one of your competitors, which is very easy to do nowadays when there are numerous options for every problem. Get to know your customers, think of them as your partners and not just some deal you have won, understand that you must help each other so that you can both get the benefits, and the customer will feel the same way about you – be a partner and not just a provider!
When assembling a sales team, seeing signs of these traits is an excellent start. All these characteristics can be improved and developed, so when you start seeing them in your sales team it means that you have individuals who are on the road to becoming successful salespeople!
Would you replace any of our top 5 traits with something else? Let us know by leaving us a comment and we’ll be very happy to receive your feedback!