Contrary to the old adage, great salespeople are made, not born. The “making” of a great salesperson involves more than just having the right training or the right coaches. It also requires developing the attitudes, attributes and inner discipline that allow you to maximize what you’ve learned all along the way. Below is a list of what I consider to be four of the top attributes of high-performing sales professionals.
• Mental toughness. This is skill is one of the most important for all salespeople, yet typically it hovers under the radar of most conventional sales trainers and recruiters. The top five percent of sales professionals succeed at a higher level than fifty percent of the rest. Some might attribute these results to superior closing, probing, or territory management skills. In reality, they are a result of mental toughness: the inner ability to know what to do, coupled with the mechanical ability to execute it particularly when faced with rejection & indecision. Winston Churchill once said “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
• Profound communication skills. Effective communication involves more than just matching and mirroring prospects. Profound communication skills enable you to create an environment of trust in which prospects become willing to share and reveal the truth about their problems. Ninety percent of sales processes are based on misinformation & gamesmanship. In order to get prospects to open up and reveal their problems, you must understand how to communicate in a way that elicits truth. Then, and only then, will you be working on the right problems. Undoubtedly, the most important communication skill in a salesperson’s repertoire is the ability to LISTEN!
• Knowledge of value. Some would say this is not a skill. But if not, what is it? If you don’t understand the core tenets of your value proposition, how can you expect to articulate them effectively to the marketplace? In fact, most salespeople have a weak understanding of what a value proposition is, which is why they typically convey only a small percentage of the value their company really offers. Communicating real value requires study, practice, and shedding preconceived notions about what selling really is.
• The ability to deal with humans. Those pesky humans! Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to deal with all their insecurities and pains? But then, who would write the checks and approve the deals? When you accepted salesmanship, you accepted the challenge of relationships. This applies to relationships with your superiors, clients, prospects, vendors and anyone else you come in contact with. It is absolutely true that people do business with people they like & trust and won’t do business with people they don’t! Make no mistake. Your product or service must have value & fulfill a need but if you can’t make a ‘connection’, you will find it extremely difficult. Now, more than ever, it is critical to know yourself and be able to not only identify your clients generationally but also the distinct personalities you are dealing with (dominant, expressive, amiable, analytical) and react/present accordingly.
Do you know why most prospects lie about their true motives when a salesperson shows up? Do you know why some prospects simply cannot pull the trigger to buy? People who study this stuff get real good, real quick. They make a great deal of money because they are dialed into their profession at an entirely different level than their competitors. The better you are at having a relationship with yourself, the better you will be at external relationships.
Success is an inside job. By focusing on developing these four attributes, not only will you acquire a positive attitude and the mental discipline necessary to be a consistently high-performing salesperson, you’ll also accomplish more than you thought humanly possible.