The stereotype of the Salesperson brings to mind the door-to-door salesman equipped with the leather briefcase and slick image. Today’s salespeople range from all industries including real estate, computer and software, books, and even frozen food! The qualities, however, of effective salespeople remains the same. There are some key personality traits and characteristics that make, or break, the salesperson in action. If you are breaking into a sales career, or are wondering how to improve your techniques, here are some key areas of focus that can boost your chances of success!
-whatever your industry, it is important to be visible and stay in touch with colleagues, competitors, and others in your field. Be sure to exchange business cards at networking events, and socialize with your colleagues to gain information and tips on current trends and events. Learn people’s names, positions of influence, and remember to follow up after important luncheons or business meetings.
2. Polish your image
-as with any customer service industry, your image is a projection of your ability to manage the sale or negotiation. Take the extra steps to improve your clothing and maintain a professional appearance as needed. Be mindful of the image you project, and try to exude confidence and approachability for maximum benefit.
3. Focus on Learning
-whether taking independent courses in your field, attending seminars and conferences, or even developing a feedback system for your customers and clients, it’s important to increase your knowledge base and try different approaches in your work. Making mistakes is part of the game, so be sure to learn from them and stay open to fresh ideas!
4. Learn or Increase Your Self-discipline
-Salespeople do have the responsibility of staying on task; often this means staying flexible with client or customer needs, following through to meet deadlines, and maintaining a pace and flow of work that works in the long-run. ‘Running out of steam’ early in the field can be a result of a lack of self-discipline, as you do not know how to keep up a steady pace of work. Again, this takes time to master so establish some goal-setting strategies that you can grow with. Some hands-on approaches include taking a T’ai Chi or Yoga class that promote discipline of the body; you can then apply these same strategies to your lifestyle (and ease your stress levels!).
5. Adopt a Servant Attitude
-a lot can be learned from working in the service industry; this includes being able to read people, not taking complaints too seriously, and being able to create a win-win situation quickly and successfully no matter what the dilemma! By adopting a ‘servant’ attitude, it becomes easy to identify needs of your customer and finding ways to meet their needs with your resources. By doing so, you will also focus on learning their perspective which is vital for enhancing your relationship.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes
-a healthy mindset does encourage the often-dreaded mistake. It’s only by making mistakes that you’ll identify what not to do in the future. This is not anything that can be learned or taught, it can only be experienced in action mode!
7. Adopt a Winning Attitude
-no matter how bad things may seem, the successful salesperson has learned to adopt a winning attitude. If you don’t win this round, you will definitely have a chance for the next one! Persistence is a large portion of the success pie, and it does pay off! Without persistence, a winning attitude is just a one-shot wonder, and will not sustain you over the long-run. Athletes adopt this same attitude during competition; if you feel like you’re ‘losing’, stay in the game and work on something else that may need strengthening, or just your attention. Before long, you’ll be stronger than ever.
8. Learn to Delegate
-if you are in an industry where there is a team environment, or you have an assistant, learn to delegate smart. There are plenty of ways to ‘outsource’ your day-to-day activities so that you can focus and stay strong where you need to be; in the field!
9. Learn to Renew
-even if you are a roaring success, it’s important to stay steady and renew yourself from time to time. Burnout can be a sure outcome when you don’t develop fresh strategies or approaches; you certainly don’t want to project an image of the ‘cookie-cutter’ salesperson, or seem like you’re working from a script. Stay attuned to new trends, approaches, and even work styles and you’ll be on your way to a long-term success track.
10. Think Positive
-the mind can play tricks on you during stressful and seemingly daunting times. By focusing on the positive, you are establishing and encouraging a mindset that doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Even if this means you may have to try harder, change your approach, or just acknowledge things as they are, being positive during the process will encourage you to grow with the plan and boost you to new heights. Negative thinking and dwelling will only pull you down, and the more you encourage these thoughts, the less likely you will be able to focus and continue on a growth-oriented path.
By incorporating these top ten strategies, you can create an environment to grow or start your sales career. It is a tough industry, and the dropout rate is high within the first year. Persistence, self-discipline, and a customer-service attitude are only a few areas that require high energy and a drive to maintain your productivity. Remember to know your market or field to the best of your ability, and strive to be a learner no matter how far you go! Learning is always part of the process, so make the effort to track how you are progressing.