“What qualities define a sales professional?”
To answer this question, I had to deeply reflect both on my personal experiences as a field sales rep, and as a leader of sales teams for various organizations over the years. The result is the checklist below. Keep in mind, each of these points has a real life story behind them that I will share in later blogs.
Here are my defining qualities and attributes of a sales professional:
As a sales professional you must:
- Be RESPONSIBLE for your actions
- Hold YOURSELF accountable
- Focus on RESULTS – nothing else matters
- Do things with a sense of urgency
- Do what you say you are going to do
- Position yourself in such a way that it will be very hard for a prospect to say NO. Make it personal
- Work hard, work smart
- Manage expectations…under promise and over deliver
- If you made a mistake be the first one to report it….take responsibility…admit it…so that the focus can be on a solution. Trust is earned. The cover-up is usually where people get into trouble….resulting in a loss of trust and wasting time
- Have higher expectations of yourself than others have of you
- You have to be your toughest boss…if your Sales Manager or VP of sales is tougher on you than you are on yourself…then you have a problem that you need to solve
- Appearance – look like a professional. Dress one step above your industry’s expectations
- Positive Attitude
- Wanting to win 100% of the time…
- Do not talk yourself out of success- when the deal is closed – get out within 30 seconds….
- Every night is opening night. Don’t skip steps in your sales process
- Approach and methodology – having a clearly defined sales process that you will implement all of the time. You can’t jump up a step ladder…you must go up one rung at a time. Same with selling
- Be in alignment with your customer
- Bad habits are developed when sales are going well. Don’t take your foot off the pedal
- Don’t forget that the buyer has just as much pressure to buy as you do to sell
- Act like you have the winning lottery ticket in your pocket when making sales calls – especially when making cold calls. Very liberating. Try it.
- Be observant. Look around. Pick up hints
- Be a problem solver and a solution provider
- Be naturally curious
- Questions are a sales reps weapons
- Show up and don’t say anything stupid (This is my personal favorite – I just can’t wait to tell you the story behind this)
- Courteous and Respectful – to your customers, to your customer’s employee’s from the bottom to the top of the organization, to your fellow employees and to everyone you come in contact with
- We all make a choice every day. Will I have a good day or a bad day? I choose to have a good day everyday…life is too short. Nobody likes crabby people
- Don’t make excuses
- Most of the time a plan fails because of execution…not strategy
- The hardest door to open when making a cold call is your car door
- Invest in yourself
- Why should anyone care about your success if you do not care enough to invest in yourself?
- One of the great joys in life is learning – Wanting to learn more… Reading self-improvement books, articles, seminars. Being a lifelong student.
- Knowledgeable in:
- Sales as a profession
- Your Industry
- Your Products
- Your Customers
- Base discussions on FACTS only…no feelings…no emotion…
- Willingness to reach out for advice, for assistance, for help
- Be ON TIME. Period.
- Work harder than your competitor
- Listen, listen, listen
- Stop talking – don’t feel that you have to fill silence gaps
- How likeable are you? What is your likeability index?
Why do you have a job as a sales rep?
- New business, new business, new business.
- Sell new accounts.
- Sell new products/services to existing accounts.
- Help your current accounts grow their business.
- Be a consultant to your customers…add value
- Nothing happens until somebody sells something
- Top line growth. Period
- Sales is a game of strategy – the most prepared will usually win
- Sales is applied psychology
- Know your competition
- Know your customer’s needs
- Always have a purpose of what you want to accomplish on the sales call
- Planning lowers stress:
- Objectives – Strategy – Tactics – Execution
- Have a plan for the year – for the month – for the week – for the day – for each hour – for each call – then work your plan
- You don’t necessarily have to be the only company that has a certain feature, you just have to be the first one to say you have it
- Think of yourself as a defense attorney – only provide the facts that support your defendant…your company – never talk about what you don’t have
Confidence – it is ok to have some swagger!!
- In yourself
- In your team
- In your company
- For your profession…passion for results…passion for success…
- Emotional – to be emotional can be very strong when making a point…to show emotion is good – just do not be emotional on the inside
- You need to have acting skills
- Be adaptable
- A sales rep has to have the same properties as water. Without water we will not be able to live beyond 3 days. Without sales the organization will cease to exist. Water is persistent, powerful force…look at the Grand Canyon. At times a sales rep needs to be as cold as ice…other times – boiling hot passionate. Water takes the form of what it is poured into…a sales rep needs to be adaptable as well. From a beer bottle mentality to a champagne bottle mentality
- In yourself – in your company – in your products and services
- Leverage your knowledge, skills, experience, education –sell who you are
- Never forget why you do what you do…to make a better life for your family and yourself
- What is your definition of success?
- To your success
- To the team’s success
- To your Company’s success
To be respected
Life is too short…..HAVE FUN!