(5) Traits of a Great Salesperson: Do You Have What it Takes?

(5) Traits of a Great Salesperson: Do You Have What it Takes?

So do you think you can sell? Have you had success in the past in sales positions? Or, are you looking to take on a position in sales? Do you have what it takes to become a great salesperson? And, what attributes do you need to possess to become an effective sales person?

Ask anyone who has sold products or services in a sales capacity and they will tell you that selling is not as easy as it looks. It is an intricate process that takes certain skills and aptitude to be great. It is an area where many jobs are available, yet it is the most difficult to recruit for the top sales people who can impact the bottom-line of a company quickly and add value.

So what does it take to be a great salesperson?

Here are a few traits that I have observed after recruiting thousands of sales people for many years:

1.)   There is something called the “Woo” factor. It is a category in the Strengthfinder testing platform that is a key trait that successful salespeople have. People that have this Woo factor are naturally interested in talking to others and are motivated to “winning them over” in a conversation. They look at this as a challenge. These are the people you see in public places who strike up a conversation and are interested in who you are. They are capable of connecting with people on the spot and make great sales people because they genuinely enjoy meeting and learning about others. This is something you are born with and can not be taught.

2.)   Great sales people are not afraid to spec their time and to take risks to achieve an ultimate goal. They are often driven by making money. This is why many do well on commission based compensation structure.

3.)   They are self-motivated and have the ability to create their own sales strategy to attract new clients. They are also adept at creating a solid marketing plan. They are entrepreneurial and treat their job as their own business.

4.)   Great sales people are passionate about what they sell. They have the ability to effectively communicate their offering to a potential client to help them identify where they need help.

5.)   They never give up! They may not get every deal, but they are continuely looking at new ways to better approach a barrier to attract new clients or projects. They regroup after a loss of a potential sale and use their creativity to find new target clients. They are accountable for their actions and are motivated to win. If they don’t have a “win” for the day, they feel like they haven’t accomplished anything.

So are you a naturally born salesperson? Can great salespeople be trained to be the best? I think not, but millions of dollars are spent annually to “train” salespeople how to sell. I think a better solution is to find sales people who have the ability to perform without training and to let them lose. Do you have what it takes to be a great salesperson? If you do, you are special and this is an excellent job market for you.


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  • I figure that some people are not entrepreneurial by nature, me included.

    Besides willing to take risks, I figure that a salesperson has to be about 95% Blago, personality wise. Unless one is passionate about what one sells actually sells something of quality, a certain amount of con is involved.* And, if buyer's remorse is involved, one has to have the intestinal fortitude to realize that one lost the customer for good, even if he or she got the sale.

    *I worked for companies that talked about "creating value," but it was only tangentially related to giving the customer value, as opposed to the company extracting value from the customer.

    I also wondered why they fired salespeople who were on commission, but apparently the quota also enters into it. And, if the company merges too many times, there is an excess of salespeople working the same territories.

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    The article is right on at the most general level. However, companies that sell disruptive and innovative services or technologies have a unique challenge. The individual who brings all the qualities above will not succeed unless an additional layer of capability is present.

    Companies do not want to buy anything risky that disrupts existing methods. Traditional consultative sales looks at these buyers as unqualified and not worth time. However, in new markets most sales opportunities fit these criteria. The former high quota achiever then blames the product or management and goes back to selling a known quantity. Sales has to create demand where it does not exist.

    The key is to understand the buyer mindset and introduce the value of change and methods to mitigate the risk to the organization. The sales opportunity can not be qualified in the traditional manner and will require constant creativity as it will fall apart numerous times.

    These types of salespeople are in high demand today but very difficult if not impossible to identify using traditional hiring practices.

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