Top 7 Traits of a Sales Professional
By Michael Niles
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Why is it that some salespeople seem to set sales records month after month, while others have to rely on that typical “fast finish” to squeak out a paycheck? Why does it seem all too true that 80% of the money is made by 20% of the sales force? I believe it comes down to professionalism. In working alongside and talking with many top performers in numerous sales fields, here is a basic overview of what I have found. Working on these traits will go a long way to promote the crafting of a true sales pro.
- ATTITUDE- Renewing daily positive affirmations in order to maintain a positive outlook is a key component of a professional's daily routine. Yesterday's shortcomings and defeats hold no sanctuary in their minds. One can "discipline" themselves into a positive outlook, but your inner beliefs reflect your outer behaviors. What you truly believe, or don't believe you will sub-conconciously act out. Behavior follows belief. A true professional will not let today's possibilities get "shaded" by failures of yesterday.
MORAL: Leave yesterday there...it's not going to help you today!
- ADVANCED COMMUNICATION SKILLS- Listening skills are imperative to a professional's process. Asking the right questions, and knowing how to capitalize on key moments when a client shows interest in a feature, are their strengths. Too often an average salesperson will talk their way right through the closing moment, thus missing a golden opportunity. The pro transfers their enthusiasm of the product or service into the client, gaining valuable momentum. Reading verbal and non-verbal signs, and resolving those issues that customers might have, but keep them hidden, make the professional appear extremely non confrontational, for they have seen the signs and can deal with it before anything has been said.
MORAL: Two ears, one mouth...do the math.
- SUPERIOR SKILL SETS- Practice, drill and rehearse. It cannot be said enough, but if the skills sets are practiced so regularly that they become "second nature", they feel they can overcome any objection. Their response will allow them to reinforce their belief that they can benefit the customer better than anyone else. Ever see a true professional "scared" of an objection? They actually welcome them, for by knowing what the problem is, they know they can solve it! They are like the Special Forces, and basic training is only the beginning, not the standard of excellence they require of themselves.
MORAL: Practice, drill, and rehearse your skills until they are second nature.
- ONGOING EDUCATION- Becoming an expert in their field, the absolute best, will make the pro more than just a salesperson. It will make them a consultant, and give immediate credibility. Pros know everything about their perspective fields, and will use the knowledge to their full advantage. Being a true consultant will establish the as a "go-to" person when clients need advice. Reading everything they can get your hands on abut their profession pays the pro big dividends, and cultivates long-term relationships with their clients. Average salespeople do what it takes to get the sale, and move to the next.
MORAL: Become a consultant by becoming an expert in your field.
- VISION- Knowing what you're doing right now, and where you're going sounds basic doesn't it? A true professional knows all of their percentages, and know what they need to do to get better in each to attain their goals for the next month. They will calculate what they do, and dissect their numbers to discern what they can do better. The pro is constantly asking him or herself, "Is what I am doing right now, taking me closer to my goal, or is it a useless function?" They see that there are no bad months; there are bad hours, leading to bad days, leading to bad weeks, leading to bad months. Catching themselves quickly if they are doing something that is not moving themselves closer to their goal or vision of what they want, only makes them more efficient
MORAL: You've got to know where you're going, and what's going on!
- MENTORING- The professional wants to teach, to give something back. It is a yearning and sometimes hard to explain. To help with another person's growth, the pro can promote their own self-esteem and growth as well. It has been said that if you want to be really good at a skill, teach it to someone else. By teaching a skill the professional will actually become better themselves. Zig Ziglar himself teaches that if you help enough other people get what they want, you will eventually get what you want.
MORAL: Student hears it once; teacher hears it many times.
- Webster defines professionalism as “The ability to do something with great skill.” In the end, professionalism is a choice. Anyone can choose to understand others better, influence those around in a positive manner, and commit themselves to developing growth in themselves and others.
Michael Niles is a Seattle based trainer and speaker. After 13 years in the auto business he wants to share his knowledge with others.
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Article Submitted On: March 14, 2005