What are the qualities and abilities top performing salespeople possess?
There is one big mistake small business owners make – they assume sales is sales is sales. First of all, we are living in a dynamic, constantly changing, complex world. The top performing salespeople yesterday may be a flop today. What he sold and to whom he sold it may be a diminishing or extinct market. New products, new services, and new competitors spring up daily. I recommend that clients focus on these essential qualities for all key positions:
Curiosity – I find this trait is a key element for future success in today’s environment. The desire to probe, ask questions, continuously learn are essential traits to keep up with the markets, customers, and competitors. Low curiosity leads to taking things for granted, shortchanging due diligence, and focusing on the transaction not value.
Growth mindset – (compared to the fixed mindset) – does he (or she) see setbacks, obstacles and challenges as opportunity (or threats)? Do they get defensive when given feedback or learn from criticism? Do others threaten them or inspire them?
Ambition – how motivated is the individual to grow and achieve.
Accountability – how motivated is the individual to accept responsibility, build and nurture relationships?
Awareness – how motivated is the individual to learn about himself and others and avoid problems before they happen?
Agility – how motivated is the individual to take responsibility to solve his and other’s problems?
While there are many personality traits and qualities that top performing salespeople share, the underlying catalyst is a quality of motivation that differentiates the most successful from the high potentials that miss expectations.
How will you train this individual or team?
Product knowledge is critical but to be competitive, knowledge about your products alone is not enough. Salespeople need to be smart about the competition and new markets. Both the young inexperienced salesperson as well as the mature experienced one benefit from personal development – relationship management, emotional intelligence, problem solving, collaborative skills, technology acumen.
What common pitfalls should you avoid?
Don’t assume that experience or a natural gift to sell qualifies someone to sell your product or service. Make sure you know what you expect to happen after you hire the salespeople(s). Then identify the qualities required to meet your expectations. And then have a plan to manage him (or them). Too many managers expect the next salespeople to be the knight in shining armor to save the day until reality strikes and all they hired was Don Quixote.
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