The other day someone asked me what I thought it took to be a great salesperson and once again I gave them a litany of my old standbys.
After thinking about this for a day or two I thought it was time to dig deeper. To think about this even more. My answers were trite, old, used, and tired. I thought it was time to come up with the list. I actually went back to my website and went through a whole slew of my old columns about sales and salespeople to find the very best suggestions and tips and tools, to create a list of the very best advice I could for becoming the greatest salesperson in your industry.
I have to admit that some of these you will have read before, but a few are new and insightful if I do say so myself. But the important thing I found after reading them all together is that holistically they make up a pretty solid list of what you have to do to be a great salesperson.
Check it out and see what you think. See if you agree.
Embrace your remarkability: This is a new one and my favorite! Being average is not an option. Embrace what makes you unique. What makes you stand out in a crowded field, and it is a crowded field. Focus on your strengths. Highlight what you do best, and what your company does best as well. What is your unique selling proposition and highlight that.
Master the art of storytelling. In the end that is what it’s all about. Great stories told by great story tellers get attention and they get remembered. Use stories to illustrate how your products and services solve your customers’ problems. This will not only connect you with your audience in a business sense, but emotionally as well.
Understand your customers’ needs: You have to know what your customers want and what they need. You have to understand their products and their markets. You have to realize their pain points and how you can soothe those pains with your solution. This can be hard work and a lot of research but certainly worth it in the end.
Focus on building relationships: Business is always people to people, always. Focus on fostering long-term relationships. Invest the time and effort in building genuine connections with your customers. This means that you have to be authentic, genuine, reliable, and empathetic. You have to become their trusted advisor. That way you’ll earn loyalty and secure a long-term productive relationship. And it has to be a win/win relationship.
Provide value before the sale: I love this one. Once again you have to research and know all you can about the customer. Done right you will come to the customer meeting armed with solutions that you know the customer will need. Offer resources, offer solutions, and become a true resource to that customer.
Leverage the power of referrals. Delight your existing customers and they will pay you back by telling others about you. The better a vendor you are the smarter the customer looks and the more willing she will be to tell others about you, your products, your services, and your company. The best advertising in the world comes from a satisfied customer.
Work on your craft: Sales is a craft that has to be taken seriously and worked on continuously. Read, study, go to seminars, watch how-to’s on YouTube, do whatever it takes to become great at what you do. You always have to be growing to be good at what you do. Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Bob Dylan were never happy with what they had accomplished, they were always trying to do better and be better. What Bob Dylan is to music you are to sales. This is your thing…your craft, always be working on it.
Embrace change: Yes, please do. Do not be terrified of change. Change is good. Look at change as an opportunity to take advantage of.
Be resilient: Don’t just roll with the punches. Learn from your mistakes and disappointments. You’re in sales, you are going to get rejected. Learn from those rejections and do better next time.
What is measured gets improved: Give yourself checkups. Study your numbers. In a way you are lucky to be in a field that has empirical data. You make the sale, or you don’t. You win ten new customers, or you don’t. You make your forecast or you don’t. Use these measurements as milestones and guideposts to improvement. When you measure, get to understand where you are and what you need to do to get where you want to go.
And one last thing. Put your heart in it. Be all there at all times. Be intentional in all that you do, and you will be succeed. It’s only common sense.