What Are the Qualities of a Good Salesman?
If we want to get better, we need to start off by knowing what better looks like. Defining what makes the perfect salesman is the first step.
The best salespeople are those who are capable of getting the most amount of sales given the number of opportunities that are presented to them. They don’t just meet their quota every month. They smash them and consistently set new records.
Becoming a better salesman is about being more effective at building relationships with customers.
Studies have shown that salesmen who burn through leads are actually doing more harm than salesmen who don’t sell. So making the most out of every lead you have contact with is of utmost importance.
Now that we have defined what the great salesman is, we need to break down how they get it done. And to do this we’ll reference the four main areas that a highly effective salesman must develop. In no particular order, a good salesman:
1 Listens and shows empathy
Empathy is your ability to understand not only what your prospects are saying, but also their situation from their point of view. You will gain the respect of your customers if you succeed in connecting with their emotions to the extent that they feel heard and cared for.
To appear empathetic to your clients, you will need to work on your listening skills. Listening does not mean not speaking when the other person is speaking.
2 Is a good communicator
We’ll define this as the ability to articulate your thoughts clearly. When you do this, your pitches and general communications with clients have the desired effect.
3 Is motivated and has an intense drive
You have to deal with a lot of no’s along your way to a yes. Dealing with rejection and still moving forward is where motivation and drive come in. It requires a resilient personality that pushes through where average salespeople would give up on the sale.
How to Become a Better Salesman
The majority of people who are employed in sales today cannot sell and many can’t wait to quit. They are average salespeople who live too much much money on the table because the prospects they chase are simply not convinced enough by them to buy more or to buy at all.
So the opportunity is there for those who truly want to become great salesmen. That said, how does one become a better salesman?
At the core of becoming a better salesman, or for that matter, better at anything is how we approach the task of improving.
The how makes all the difference. Why? Limitations.
We all have limitations that we need to manage. Whether it’s time, money, or some other resource, we must pick and choose the path we’re going to follow in our journey to becoming better salesmen.
This is why having a strategy in place for improving as a salesman becomes critical. It will prevent us from simply following random tips and tricks that, although useful, simply won’t make the desired impact on our skill set.
Also, analysis paralysis. With so much information out there, we can often find ourselves spending our time thinking—that is, procrastinating—instead of doing. In the end, we don’t even know how to become a good salesman because we have fed our brains with too much stuff to process at the same time.
A clear strategy will help you save your precious mental bandwidth for what really matters.
Strategy 1: Improving Your Listening and Empathy Skills
Selling isn’t about you, it’s about your prospect. It’s about how they see things, it’s about how they feel. And if you don’t learn how to tune into that, then you’ll be less effective at selling. You won’t become a good salesman.
Understanding someone else’s point of view doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with them. Rather, you must look at this set of skills as a means to gauge or get an accurate read on what will be best to do and say next in order to help drive your prospect closer to the purchasing decision.
Here are two strategies you can follow to improve your listening and empathy skills.
Ask clarifying questions
Curiosity is a skill that will allow you to get a profound insight into what makes your prospects tick. Problem is, we usually get caught up in what we want to get from the conversation so we end up not asking questions and losing connection with them.
What to do? Practice asking real, genuine questions with everyone around you. Family, friends, and if possible, find a place where you can meet people and ask away. Also, make sure you really listen and ask follow‑up questions.
Read a book
In particular, get a fiction book. Why? Because literary fiction is great at getting you into the mind of a character. And this is a way great to practice empathy. So if you can start seeing things the way the book’s character sees them, you’ll be able to translate this skill to people in real life, too.
Strategy 2: Improving Your Communication Skills
No one likes a salesman who just goes on and on about how their product/service is the best thing in the world. They say a lot, but it gets them nowhere. In other words, talking is an illusory form of communication.
This is a big deal because when you can communicate well, your words can be very persuasive. And this makes a tangible difference in how many sales you close.
Aim for clarity
Simplify what you are trying to say as much as possible. Then, check for reactions, and focus on those elements that you got a reaction to. This will help keep your communication crisp and keep your prospect interested.
Make sure you’re being understood
We usually overestimate how much of what we say is understood. So ask clarifying questions that make sure that what you are saying is coming across the way you want it to.
The reality is that unless we ask questions, our listeners will understand only a little of what we say, and remember even less than that. Noticing what’s sticking makes a big difference.
Strategy 3: Improving Your Sales Mentality
Needless to say, selling can be tough. You deal with rejection every day. As a matter of fact, it’s a part of your job to be headstrong. So making sure you have the right mindset will help you both make your job easier and more enjoyable.
Get inspired and understand your why
A lot of people have accomplished amazing things and reading about them can certainly be inspiring. Even though your story is completely different from others’, the key thing to remember is that it can help act as a reminder of your why.
Let the past stay in the past
Even though we know that we can’t change what already happened we often have lingering feelings about it. This is where practicing non‑attachment comes in.
It’s a skill that helps us let go of the negative emotions we associated in past sales attempts and keep a fresh perspective when a new lead comes in through the door.
Nothing Happens Until You Get the Sale
Oftentimes we don’t focus on what’s important because of what’s urgent. This is usually the case with our self-development. We tend to neglect it and as consequence fall into a rut.
The good news is that if you have the right mindset and pick the right strategy, you’ll bust out of that rut and find yourself getting better in no time. Since you’re in sales, it’s a good idea to remember that getting better at sales quite literally pays off.
How to Be a Great Salesman
Now that you have a plan for how to become a good salesman, will you take action? Of course, but don’t stop there. Aim to become a great salesman. Yes, those exist and YOU can become one. Great salesmen know and believe in their products, are resilient, and are adaptable.
Truly great salespeople that achieve blow-out months consistently are honest, analytical, prepare themselves meticulously before meeting clients, solve customer problems, look after themselves, and view customer successes as their own.
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