The key to successful salespeople is that they go deep. They go beyond the transactional, the normal steps that salespeople tend to do. Great salespeople have that certain something that regular salespeople don’t have. And customers love them for it. Customers can’t wait for them to visit. Customers hope that they will be asked to go to lunch with them. And customers can’t wait to introduce them to the rest of their team. In short, customers are proud to call them their friends.
That sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Actually, I am sure some of you are scratching your head and asking how can that be?
But no, it is not unbelievable at all. It’s actually true and I’m sure if you think about it for a minute you can come up with a salesperson who will remind you of the kind of salesperson I’m talking about.
The interesting thing about this kind of salesperson is that this is the kind of person they are all the time. This is the way they are with their friends, with the organizations they belong to and with their family. They are people that other people like being around.
The poet Maya Angelou once said, “People will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” I love that. Think about your own situation and you’ll come to the same conclusion. The better someone makes you feel the more you will like them. That we should all be so lucky.
But wait, with a little bit of effort and dedication, you can become one of those people, and one of those salespeople that customers can’t wait to spend time with. And best of all, the ones customers want to do business with.
Here are some of the characteristics you need to become a great person and a great salesperson.
- Care: That’s right, you honestly care about your customers. Look out for them. Make sure that you’re there for them when they need you. Show a genuine understanding and empathy towards the customer’s situations and emotions.
- Respect: Always treat your customers with courtesy and respect. Be infinitely polite at all times, Show the manners of a courtier to the point of making them feel special. Remember what Maya said, “They’ll remember how you made them feel.”
- Listen: Be an active listener. Be interested in what they have to say. Never interrupt them. Act as if they are the most interesting person in the room (which at that time they are, right?). Lean into what they are saying. Actively follow the conversation rather than be already thinking of what you are going to say when they finish. Let them know and yes feel how important what they are saying is to you.
- Personalization: Tailor interactions with each customer’s preferences and history. Sales is not one size fits all. You have to personalize how you work with each customer.
- Research: Know everything about the customer, everything about their company. The company’s position in their marketplace and what they need to be a true leader in their own marketplace and how you can contribute to helping them do just that. The more you know about a customer the better you can service them.
- Transparency: Be open and honest at all times. Never lie. (do I really need to tell you that?) Always tell the truth especially when it hurts like when your own company messed up. In fact, when your company or when you mess up is a perfect opportunity for you to ingratiate yourself with your customer. The way you act, the honesty you show, and the way you solve the problem immediately is exactly the foundation upon which a great long-time customer relationship can be established. If not, if you don’t handle a problem well, you can ruin the relationship forever.
- Appreciation: Let your customer know how much you appreciate her business. Let him know how important your relationship with him and his company is to you. Too often salespeople take a customer for granted, assuming that based on history and longevity they are going to buy from them forever only to find out too late that they have been usurped by a better competitor with a better salesperson. It happens every day.
- Consistency: Customers love consistency. Especially consistency of quality and performance. They love being worry free. They love frictionless transactions. They want and desire things to be as easy as possible for them all the time. Our job as great salespeople is to make sure that that happens. That we deliver the same outstanding performance…every time.
And finally, be real, be honest, be authentic. These are really the best qualities a salesperson can have. There is nothing more valuable than being a true and sincere person in all of life’s transactions both business and personal. It’s only common sense.