How to be a great salesperson


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What do the best salespeople have in common? We polled a number of modern sales leaders to find out which qualities consistently spell success for salespeople. The results were surprisingly reminiscent of one of the most iconic sales guide ever written (and dating back from 1935). So what does it take to succeed in sales?

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How to be a great salesperson

  1. 1. Thursday, August 8, 13
  2. 2. We asked a number of sales managers, experts, influencers, and representatives a single question: Which qualities and habits define a great sales rep? Thursday, August 8, 13
  3. 3. We recorded the best of their responses: Thursday, August 8, 13
  4. 4. I've hired and trained thousands of salespeople. Contrary to popular opinion, great salespeople come in all personality types. But to me there are two qualities that all the great ones have in common. The first is persistence: they have to know how to be winningly aggressive; that is, they have to be aggressive without appearing pushy. Second, they need empathy: they have to be able to see the world through their prospect's eyes, and empathize with that position. I've seldom known anyone with both those traits to fail at sales. barry maher, barry maher & associates Thursday, August 8, 13
  5. 5. Prospects have access to all the data they want, thanks to the Internet. They’re looking to do business with someone they trust. The most effective sales reps can establish personal connections and trust very quickly, while providing value to the prospect over a period of time. When prospects are ready to buy, they will seek out the people they trust most (the best sales reps) to solve their issues. matt kress, Thursday, August 8, 13
  6. 6. In my research across hundreds of sales organizations the single thing that differentiated top tier sales people was was their sense of noble purpose. The sales people who sold with noble purpose, who earnestly and factually wanted to make a difference to their customers, consistently outsold the sales people who were focused on targets and quotas. lisa earle mcleod, mcleod & more, inc. Thursday, August 8, 13
  7. 7. My most successful sales reps are attentive and supportive without being overbearing and pushy, and they avoid gimmicks at all costs. audrey mclaughlin, mclaughlin sales group Thursday, August 8, 13
  8. 8. The most successful sales reps take personal responsibility and can control their emotions. Reps who are always blaming are never learning, and reps who take everything a prospect says personally do a lot more defending then selling when they get offended at negative feedback. greta shulz, schulz business Thursday, August 8, 13
  9. 9. Can you write a good subject line? Good sales people understand the importance of email and other forms of text communication. A good sales person knows how to write a good subject line. The first step to opening a dialog with a prospect is being heard. john robb, watserv Thursday, August 8, 13
  10. 10. 1) Are enthusiastic about the product/service they sell and truly believe it is of value to their prospects/customers 2) Have a sales process that they follow 3) Prospect consistently 4) Use technology to their advantage without letting it bog them down 5) Have a burning desire to make a lot of money 6) Truly enjoy helping others 7) Are completely honest with their prospects/ customers jeff goldberg, jeff goldberg & associates The Best Reps: Thursday, August 8, 13
  11. 11. It’s so deceptively simple: The quality that defines the best sales reps is the desire to be genuinely helpful. The best salespeople understand customers want solutions to their problems, and they're paid well to solve issues, not close deals. Zig Ziglar said it best: "If you help enough people get what they want, you'll get what you want." michael bremmer, telecom quotes Thursday, August 8, 13
  12. 12. Research indicates that 99% of all sales people can explain the features and benefits of a product equally well (Forum Co. Boston, 2009). What separates the top 1% from the other 99% is their ability to develop the trust of their prospects and clients. Are you doing something to the client or for the client? That difference between manipulation vs facilitation goes a long way towards building trust. john brubaker, the coach approach Thursday, August 8, 13
  13. 13. These days a good sales rep has to know and understand his customers’ business. Clients expect more than just empathy these days. tony scalzitti, softpath system Thursday, August 8, 13
  14. 14. There are a seemingly infinite number of software and services that bridge the gap between a good sales rep and a great sales rep – and I offer one of them – but there is no substitute for authenticity and understanding. art harrison, sellingly Thursday, August 8, 13
  15. 15. Sellers today need to differentiate by showing they know their business as well as the customer’s business. That combination puts them in a position where they can actually help the end client. Knowing the larger complex landscape, their product set and the client’s business puts them in the cross hairs for success. mike rosner, dgit Thursday, August 8, 13
  16. 16. A high achieving sales rep must be assertive with attracting leads, must stay committed to their job and clients, and must remain confident in their abilities when they receive push back from vendors. shreyans parekh, koyal wholesale Thursday, August 8, 13
  17. 17. The best sales reps is someone who has a passion to sell and knows how to do it offline and online. Someone who wants to be in touch with clients, knows how to make a difference (what the client cares about), knows how to deliver that message (and how to deliver it efficiently), has a passion for excellence; is smarter than the average bear and has some business acumen. In today's environment, you need to be organized, self-managed, offer boundless energy and take the initiative. stephanie woods, huthwaite Thursday, August 8, 13
  18. 18. • Don't be afraid to tell customers, "this is not for you.” You'll earn karma points for keeping it real and it will come back to you eventually. Your reputation is way more important than any one sale you make. • If you don't know the answer, tell the customer you don't know instead of making stuff up on the spot (sales people are famous for this). Go find out the answer and then come back – your prospect will love that. jeff zelaya, vocus To be a successful sales rep, you have to be honest. All the time. Thursday, August 8, 13
  19. 19. The most successful salespeople know how to get along with and enjoy meeting and talking to a wide variety of people. They also tend to be comfortable and confident in social settings. peter leighton, combined insurance Thursday, August 8, 13
  20. 20. My most successful sales reps are attentive and supportive without being overbearing and pushy, and they avoid gimmicks at all costs. matthew murray, sales higher Thursday, August 8, 13
  21. 21. The best way to understand and navigate the balance between art and science is to leverage science and apply it to the business of selling. The scientific analytics used with sales reps today helps keep the human element in the forefront of exceptional sales. The more competitive your market and the more your product becomes a commodity, the more critical the human element becomes. Science ties the two together. For example, let’s say there are very few differences between your product and your competitor’s – the human element becomes the primary differentiator. nancy martini, pi worldwide Thursday, August 8, 13
  22. 22. The most important quality that a good sales rep must have is the ability to listen. Listening starts the moment you identify a lead – before you even talk to the lead. By listening, I mean doing research on the person and their company, figuring out their challenges, and making sure that your product will solve their problem. Nowadays, there are so many social media tools that can help you do research and separate good leads from bad ones – why wouldn’t you use them to your advantage? rasheen carbin, mba project search Thursday, August 8, 13
  23. 23. 1. Hungry fighter: high energy and strong work ethic. 2. Positive attitude. 3. Great listener. 4. Sense of humor. 5. Customer centricity: *A Customer Whisperer* 6. Authoritative: know products and/or services inside out. 7. Prepared. 8. Has a great reputation. 9. Good first impression and is likable. 10. Sets goals, and measures them. george schildge, matrix marketing group The 10 Qualities of Top Performers Thursday, August 8, 13
  24. 24. A good salesperson serves as a consultant. He listens, listens, and listens. A better salesperson may even recommend a competitor if the product or service is a better fit for the customer. The best salesperson has transcended the title of sales rep, and has become a trusted friend. mark lupton, the houstonian hotel, club & spa Thursday, August 8, 13
  25. 25. The best sales rep is someone who knows his product, truly believes in and stands with his product, AND sincerely likes the people to whom he is trying to sell. natalie marino, marino gallery Thursday, August 8, 13
  26. 26. The best sales reps: •Are committed to the client •Don't oversell to get the deal •Know when to shut up •Arrive early •Possess confidence •Qualify leads quickly •Manage time well •Know when to ask for help from others •Know how to leverage technology donna krizik, crestwood associates Thursday, August 8, 13
  27. 27. The best salesperson is someone who the customer believes brings them opportunities or solutions, rather than someone who introduces new problems. gordon veniard, training consultant & author Thursday, August 8, 13
  28. 28. matt suggs, mediafly Customers appreciate sales reps that understand their business and help them achieve their goals. In the end, people buy from people they like, so qualities that are important to customers build the foundations for successful sales reps. Thursday, August 8, 13
  29. 29. I have often used a term I call Character Chameleon. The best sellers I have been around have an uncanny ability to read their clients personalities and styles very quickly in order to adapt their approach accordingly. Some clients want small talk, others want to get straight to the point. Some like to laugh, others are all business. Figuring this out quickly and being able to adapt is key to earning respect and trust. Sometimes it's as simple as asking the client how they like to be sold to. todd brown, cima solutions group Thursday, August 8, 13
  30. 30. What are the 10 most common traits and habits of successful sales reps? Thursday, August 8, 13
  31. 31. About Radius Radius is building the system of record for business information. Our sales prospecting application normalizes data from 30,000+ sources to make sense of constantly changing business data. Sales and marketing teams that sell to small-and-medium-sized businesses in the U.S. use Radius to fill their pipelines with quality leads. Thursday, August 8, 13