What is it that distinguishes a great salesperson from a good one? An outstanding performer from an average one? Based on my years of experience being in sales, developing and delivering sales programmes and coaching hundreds of clients from a wide range of industries, I have identified the seven habits that all highly successful salespeople have in common.
I hope by sharing them with you here, they will help you on your journey from a good to a great salesperson.
1. They use emotional intelligence
One of the main attributes of a successful salesperson is making it easier for the other person to say “yes”. Emotional intelligence plays a key role in helping you influence others and win hearts and minds. By understanding different communication styles, you will be able to adapt your style to suit your customer’s and engage with them more effectively.
2. They build lasting relationships
Building and protecting your relationship with your customer will help you create a balanced playing field. If both parties feel they are talking on equal terms, it’s far easier to achieve a mutually rewarding sale. By cooperating and appreciating each other’s objectives and challenges, you are more likely to forge a lasting relationship that encourages future sales.
3. They ask clever questions
Asking the right questions allows you to clarify your customer’s needs, remember “The best sales questions have your expertise wrapped into them” – Jill Konrath. By tuning into their needs and exploring their particular challenges, you can help resolve these when you tailor your story.
4. They listen carefully
As Roy Bartell said, “Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” It’s vital to remember that listening is an active process, so stay present and focused and you’ll gain a greater understanding of your customer and what really motivates them.
5. They tailor the story
Once you understand your customer’s challenges you have to tailor the story to meet their needs. Successful salespeople prepare thoroughly so they can ‘sell’ all the specific aspects of the ‘ask’ and back it up with evidence and research. By taking the time to set the scene and be specific about what you ask for, you are far more likely to get buy in.
6. They close with confidence
Confidence is without doubt one of the key traits of all successful salespeople. It plays an important role throughout the selling process but never more so that when it comes to closing the sale. At this point it’s time to flush out the ‘maybes’ but not to oversell. Close with confidence by agreeing easy next steps such as “I’ll get the contract over to you” or “lets put a date in the diary for the next meeting”.
7. They keep persevering
Finally, the seventh habit of successful salespeople is perseverance. Rejection comes with the territory, so be resilient and keep persevering!