Six traits of successful salespeople

April 4, 2011

Whether great salespeople are born or made, one thing is certain: They possess a particular set of characteristics — personality traits that contribute to their prowess in sales. And as many great salespeople have proven, these traits can be developed through hard work, practice and perseverance by anyone striving to become a great salesperson.

As a matter of fact, research into the qualities that successful sales professionals possess has proven that the best of the best share these traits. And as we stated earlier, just because you do not possess these qualities now does not mean you can’t build them up. Just be prepared to roll up your sleeves and put the work in to make it happen.

The six traits that all successful salespeople possess include:

They are forward thinking. Successful salespeople have the edge because they stay on the edge, always managing a steady stream of information via trade magazines, newspaper, various Internet resources, etc. to stay up to date with all the latest trends and information relevant to them and their industry. This may seem exhausting, to stay so informed all the time, but being two steps ahead is a key to success.

They are relationship-oriented. Networking is a fundamental aspect of the business world, including sales. Building and maintaining long-term business relationships requires more than merely handing out your business card at every opportunity you get — though it can and often does start there. But after, you need to keep in regular contact with every new business relationship you establish. You never know what networking opportunities will blossom. This is known by many experts as an “Oh By The Way” call. Without proactively reaching out to your database of prospective buyers, you will have a hard time reaching rock star status as a salesperson.

They are service-focused. Customer service remains one of the major hot buttons with consumers today — even more so due to social media, especially Twitter. In some sense, everyone at a business is involved in customer service. And since salespeople act as a bridge between the business and its buyers, they need to be just as service focused. That means returning calls and e-mails in a timely manner, following-up with clients and making good on any promises made.

They are tech literate. Ignoring the advantages new technology affords salespeople is essentially leaving money on the table. The acceleration in telecommunication technology has given salespeople an assortment of new ways to reach out to prospects, referral sources and clients — from their pockets, no less, thanks to the evolution of smart phones. Great salespeople both recognize and utilize the advantages of new technology.

They are value-minded. What sets great salespeople apart from the rest of the herd is their ability to present and emphasize value to a prospective buyer. They do this through a variety of means, such as add-on products, custom proposals and free trials to educational whitepapers — tools that get prospects to make that final buying decision. And just like customer service, high-value, risk-free offers are a hot button for buyers.

They are competitive and team driven. You have heard this countless times — there’s no “I” in “team,” no one is an island, etc. Well, it’s true, and great salespeople not only know this, but they are also fierce competitors who know how to win. That is why great salespeople back themselves up with a great team and recognize the importance of everyone winning. After all, the greatest victories are the ones that are shared.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Birmingham, Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Birmingham, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA.

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