5 Attributes of an Effective Salesperson
Working as a salesperson can be rewarding, but also tough if you do not have the right attributes. Sure, you might have the degree or training under your belt, but personality is what it takes to stay in this line of work. And failure to work on your personality can make everyday at work a grueling and depressing experience. Over time, this can be reflected by your sales performance, and months of consistent lacklustre performance can render you out of job. Here are five attributes that every salesperson must have to be successful.
Believe in the Product/Service
If you don't believe in the product/service you're selling or even worse you’re against it, then you won't fool any customer into buying it. Belief in the intrinsic value of something manifests itself in how you stand, walk and talk about it. While you could sell some inventory despite being indifferent about the product being promoted, it takes belief to exceed monthly sales quotas and to stay in this line of work for the long haul. Ask yourself Would I buy this product myself? If the answer is No, it may be time to find another sales position.
Know the Product Like the Back of Your Hand
Regardless if it's an ordinary trash can or the next smartphone model you're selling, you'll encounter a lot of questions from customers. Having an in-depth knowledge of what the product is, how it works, what it's made of and even what its dimensions are will ultimately seal the deal. If you lack specific knowledge about the product, you'll be left running back and forth to coworkers or management just to verify details about the product, which from the customer's and management's perspective makes you look incompetent and untrustworthy.
Be a Good Negotiator
Negotiating is a bread-and-butter skill of any salesperson. Some customers will need some extra push or motivation to close the deal, so you'll need to be very flexible and careful with your sales pitch. This standoff can involve a lot of pressure on the salesperson, since it's basically crunch time for them. Either you find the middle ground or the customer walks away and you lose a sale. You can hone your bartering skills by enrolling in negotiation programs or even by practicing it proactively in flea markets.
Handle Stress Without Cracking
Stress is omnipresent in this line of work, but then again, there's no profession out there that's 100 percent laid-back. As a salesperson, you could be dealing with disgruntled customers, children running around the store and knocking items off the shelves, pets peeing on the carpets, and so forth. You will encounter people of different cultures and attitudes on a daily basis, some of which will make your job much harder than it supposedly is. If you lean more towards an extroverted personality, then it's definitely something you'll be able to handle. On the other hand, an introverted person must be willing to work on their tolerance and patience towards people.
Be Honest With Customers
An effective salesperson should not resort to leaving out important details or lying about certain things just for the sake of closing a deal. You could get away with a few white lies, but it's never a good long-term quality to have in the business. Be honest to your customers about what you know, what the product/service can do for them and consequently what it can't. Having the guts to tell your customers that you don't know the answer to a question they throw at you enables you to improve by learning continuously and adapting to changes more rapidly than other coworkers who are simply too afraid to admit they don't know everything.
These attributes cannot be earned overnight nor over a week. It takes deliberate practice and repetition to turn these five attributes into habits that you do unconsciously and without requiring any effort.
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales. He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.