I've spent the last ten years analyzing salespeople and what separates the good, from the uninspiring, worn out, no-good salesperson that is toxic to any sales culture.
I've also worked in sales for a long time myself. These qualities are what have worked for many other high performing sales people I've worked with and me.
Here are the qualities of a brilliant salesperson:
They're not the person trying to tear everyone else down.
They don't think they're the best.
They want to train the junior sales people.
They aspire to be a leader.
Humble salespeople do all of these things because they know that if they didn't have access to those same tools, they'd never be where they are. Bragging is ugly and eventually, it will reflect in your sales performance.
No salesperson is ever going to be on top of the leader board forever. That's why it pays to be humble in sales.
If someone doesn't like you, they probably aren't buying from you. We all buy from people we like.
A relationship with a client is built with the following tools:
If you nail those three tools, then you'll have a genuine relationship with the client. A relationship is another word for trust. Once you're trusted, you'll get all the business.
All the snake oil salesmen in the world can't take a client from you when you are the most trusted salesperson they are dealing with.
The religion of a salesperson who knows their craft is one word: referrals.
Referrals come from doing a good job and delivering on what you say you will.
That quality is so rare and that's why many salespeople don't get referrals. If you want to compound your results, you must do your best to over deliver.
This doesn't mean underselling so that you can deliver what the client actually paid for; over delivering is delivering more value than should normally be expected from the same product or service in the marketplace.
Everyone Googles everyone nowadays. If a customer Googles you and you appear nowhere, then you become a commodity. Unfortunately, that translates to a heavy bias towards price.
When someone looks you up, they should see a professional social media profile like LinkedIn, they should see at the very least some content from you about your industry, and some reviews or references from people you've previously sold too.
A strong social media presence allows brilliant salespeople to have warm prospects approach them rather than having to go looking for them. A brilliant salesperson can turn a "Hi, how are you, Tim Bob?" into a "Yes, let's meet next week for coffee to discuss X business opportunity."
That's why we fell in love with Apple. They took hundreds of menus and turned them into a few beautiful app icons. Life is complex enough and a brilliant salesperson can help us take a load off by giving advice to us in easy to understand language.
This method of communication requires the "less is more" approach, no acronyms, no industry jargon and a step-by-step process that can easily be followed.
Corporate pitch? Better put a suit on.
Seeing a new, cool, funky start-up? Probably best to wear a t-shirt and take a backpack.
First-time users of the product or service? Stick to the why and two-to-three useful takeaways.
Not by using PowerPoint decks, closing techniques and fancy catch phrases, but by using their infectious personality and sense that they care about the needs of the customer.
They avoid overthinking.
It's easy to procrastinate in sales and try and predict every move that a customer will make. In the end, the client will use mostly emotion to make a decision. Quit trying to overthink the outcome of a business opportunity and focus on going all in.
Give it everything you have and then if you lose the sale, it's all gravy. Move on to the next business opportunity.
Sales is hard, which is why there are incentives. If it were easy, we'd all have the job title of "sales."
Sales requires many consecutive and challenging decisions one after another. You have to convince not only the customer, but also the internal stakeholders such as the product and operational areas.
This process is a series of lots of small decisions that match the urgency of your customer. If you take too long, you lose the sale. If you overpromise, you'll burn the client. If you don't offer a competitive price, they may go elsewhere.
All of these are decisions and brilliant salespeople make them daily and do so efficiently.
Without a date to work to, we all get lost in the busy trap. Either you become too busy or the client does. This is not about hard sell techniques or fake offers that expire. If you can genuinely help your client, then you should want them to have that benefit as quickly as possible.
Ego is the enemy. If you think you're some hot shot sales person, your prospective clients will run.
Too much confidence and an inflated ego are usually a mask of a salesperson who's covering something up. In other words, someone who lies for a living.
Humbleness, kindness and humility are how a brilliant salesperson attracts customers. Too much ego does the opposite.
As I said, sales is hard work. To be good at it, you need to be disciplined.
You can't help everyone.
You only have so much time to prospect.
You have to make the calls, respond to emails and see clients to make target.
If you don't do the basics, you can't be a brilliant salesperson. Kobe Bryant put in the hours to become a great basketballer. He went to the gym, did the practice shots and ran until he passed out. Phone calls, emails and prospecting meetings are the exercises used in the sales world.
The more you do the exercises and stick to the plan, the closer you'll get to Kobe's success in the basketball world. We're lazy by nature though, so discipline is key in sales.
Too many salespeople talk your head off but don't actually listen. Listening in sales is how you understand the customer and deliver a message that will allow them to make a buying decision. You'll learn more from listening than talking. Phenomenal salespeople recognize this.
Tim is a blogger who reaches millions of people per month with his content, which can be found on Medium, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success and Entrepreneur.com. His life mission is to inspire the world through entrepreneurship and personal development.
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