Salespeople have to ability to make big bucks! This is just one reason people fancy going into sales. It can also be a great career path that can take you almost anywhere you want to go, and into any industry.
However, sales aren’t for everyone. It takes grit and determination to get where you want to be and (unless you’re willing to put in the hard work) you won’t get to the top! But the stereotypical sales style of the Wolf of Wall Street days is thankfully far behind us. You don’t need to be a bully or a pest in order to be good at sales.
For a start, it takes these ten essential skills:
To be a good salesperson you have to be a good listener. What is the customer really struggling with? What do they need from you? What is it that they’re not saying? Active listening is so much more than just answering prospects’ questions.
In order to understand what a client or prospect needs from you, you must be able to put yourself in their shoes and feel what pains them. This requires empathy. It is perhaps not what springs to mind when you think of the stereotypical salesperson, but it’s a crucial skill if you’re going to build a successful sales career.
If you’re a regular follower of The Sales Ace, you’ll know that I talk a lot about how important a problem-solving approach is, as opposed to a pitching approach. When talking with a client, they don’t just want to know what your product or service does, they want to know how you can solve a problem they’re facing. To do this, you first have to listen and empathise!
Sales can be painstaking at times. It may take 100 calls before you speak to the right person, or you might just have a bad day where no one will pick up the phone. If you’re going to work through these issues and make sales, you must be able to motivate yourself and keep going.
Salespeople often have to jump between clients or pick up new product campaigns very quickly. To do this successfully, it’s important to be a quick learner with an eye for detail. Customers expect you to be an expert so you have to learn quickly when handed a new project.
The number one job of a salesperson is to build rapport with new clients. If you don’t have a friendly and personable attitude, you won’t be able to build trust and will struggle to make sales.
You often don’t get long to speak with a client and it’s so important to make a good first impression. If your ability to communicate well under pressure isn’t polished to perfection, it’s unlikely you’ll even get a seat at the table, let alone a sale.
As mentioned above, you’ll often be called upon to switch between accounts and campaigns and it’s crucial you can manage your time on each one effectively. Moreover, prospects will often ask for a callback or a follow-up. If you miss these opportunities to check in, you’ll miss sales. Invest in a good CRM system, use it effectively and brush up on your planning skills and you won’t drop the ball!
Situations can change at a pace and your ability to flex and adapt will define your success in the sales arena. If you struggle with changing goalposts or deadlines or find yourself anxious at the thought of change, sales might not be the career path for you.
No one said sales is easy. To succeed, you have to persevere even when things are not going your way. A good month is always round the corner and, if you can keep going when you feel like giving up, you’ve got what it takes to be a great salesperson.
So, is sales for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes a great salesperson: leave a comment below if you think I’ve missed anything!