Searching for greatness
Yes, I now that the world of sales is more difficult today than ever before. We all know that the competition is stiffer, and that it is much harder to get a prospects’ attention than ever before. But there is hope. There are things that never change, and that is the type of person you are. Your character and your integrity are completely personal and here is the best part, completely in your control. The high road is always just that, the high road and it is your choice whether you take it or not. The choice to be an upstanding person is yours. The choice to have a character that will be admired is up to us. No matter what happens around us, if we maintain a steady compass direction towards goodness, we will in the end be the winner.
Here are seven character traits of a top notch salesperson:
- Integrity: Integrity governs everything you do. It is the litmus test of character. A person with integrity will always do the right thing. Always say the right thing even if in the end it hurts her chances of winning the order. Integrity will always trump winning the order in the end.
- Generosity: A person who is generous will always have friends. Being generous is easy. It involves the sharing of ideas. The sharing of knowledge and the sharing of time.
- Honesty: Honesty is a given. This should be easy but of course it is not. There will often be time when your honesty will be tested. Like when you are tempted to tell your customer that the boards were late because the material did not arrive on time when the truth is your team forgot to put the order into work when they first got it. Ouch! That sure hurts, but in the end your honesty in a situation like this will pay off by contributing validity to your over integrity. And you customer will learn to trust you, in good situations and in bad ones.
- Kindness: Kindness is not always easy, but it is always important. What being kind to someone does for your own self worth will pay off in dividends in the end. A great salesperson is kind to everyone she meets, especially her competition.
- Helpfulness: Helpfulness is a given. As a salesperson you are paid to be helpful to your customers. It should be second nature to you to be helpful. But do not limit being helpful to just your customers, also remember your support staff back at the office. A great team member is helpful to everyone as part of his mission to make the entire team successful.
- Openness: Openness means not even thinking about lying. It means being without guile, always telling the truth and always painting a complete picture of the situation, never leaving anything out that might be selfishly beneficially to your cause to leave out. Being open with people will make them trust you, which is exactly what a good salesperson is trying to do.
- Forgiveness: I love to forgive; it is so satisfying. As I have said a number of times, do something good for someone who did you wrong, it completely freaks them out! And anyway, harboring resentment and holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison hoping that it will hurt the other person. It is counterproductive.
One more always under promise and over deliver the eighth and last one is credibility. Actually, this one will come naturally if you have the other seven. If you adhere to all of the above traits, you will earn the attribute of being credible, which of course to a salesperson is the most important attribute to have.
There are times you will get discouraged, times when it seems you are losing business, or losing a battle because to someone who is cheating, but in the end you will always prevail. As my kind mentor the late great Lou Cardillo told me one day when I had lost a significant amount of business to another company whose CEO has taken the buyer of that business and his wife to a nice jaunt in the Caribbean. “Hang in there Danny, remember cream always rises to the top.” It’s only common sense.