7 Traits of an Effective Sales Professional

The sales staff is the face of your company.  If you want to know how your customer views your company, spend time watching your sales team in action. An effective sales professional will demonstrate a particular set of qualities and work ethics.

Building a best-in-class professional sales team starts with hiring sales professionals who exemplify the following traits:

  1. Trust and Credibility

Selling is based on establishing trust and credibility. When looking at a candidate think about how they will be viewed by your customers. Who do you think will have the easier time establishing rapport and trust with the decision makers? The junior inexperienced salesperson, or the seasoned veteran sales professional?

Just in the past 6 months, I have heard at least a dozen hiring authorities for sales say they wanted to hire a young energetic, aggressive, entry-level salesperson. The translation of this is “Cheap!” but think about it. What is the real cost of this strategy?

As a business owner or hiring manager, you want to hire a sales professional who will represent your company as best-in-class, ultimately securing future clients. So which candidate do you see as being the face of your company? Who do you think customers will respond to best? Who would you trust?

Check the cockpit as you board your next flight. Chances are you’re putting your life in the hands of a pilot with over 20 years of experience and he is mentoring a less experienced co-pilot.

  1. Success is Easier to Repeat

A more mature sales professional knows what it means to fail and what it feels like to succeed. Success is easier the second time around because our subliminal reasoning says, “Oh yes I can do this, I’ve done it before so no problem!”  It is always easier to achieve a goal the second time because you have more confidence.

Hire a sales professional with a successful track record of account penetration and a proven ability to build lasting business relationships. This strategy makes sense! It’s all about relationships, not the number of contacts in a database. Anyone can put contacts in a database.

  1. Wit Does Matter

Look for wit, not to be confused with the best joke teller. You need sales professionals that will respond well under pressure. Find complex problem solvers who can stay calm, think on their feet, adapt and learn quickly. Hire a team of sales professionals that will turn customer issues into opportunities, not obstacles.

  1. Product vs. Sales Experience

Finding the industry-leading sales professional isn’t always easy to do. Many are simply not available for hire. As a consolation prize, it’s tempting to settle for the less experienced industry sales professional.

Don’t fall into the trap of only looking at candidates with your product experience. You can teach product knowledge much easier than you can teach someone the sales profession. An effective sales team is not “cookie cutter profiles”, but a diverse group of sales professionals.

  1. Find a MENTOR

The sales profession is a mentor-based profession. Successful sales organizations are mentor-based environments.

Inexperienced salespeople don’t know what they don’t know. They learn through the school of hard knocks. This learning curve takes time and could cost your business in so many ways!

The entire sales team will benefit from a seasoned sales professional that has accumulated a reservoir of experience.

Think about successful sports teams. Their success is driven by having promising young talent led by veterans!

  1. The Psychology of Professional Sales.

Once a sale is made the real work begins!  Nearly every department in your company now engages to deliver a quality product in a timely manner.  If your company falls short we all know who the customer will call.

It is a given that the sales professional deals with a vast range of customer personalities.  Often overlooked, is a company’s internal relationships. Talk about some varying personalities and egos! To be successful, the sales professional must be able to work seamlessly with all the departments and personalities.

  1. Extrovert or Introvert?

The typical thought is that a good sales person is a friendly, outgoing, happy-go-lucky, talkative, extroverted type of an individual.

Step back and think about the skills necessary to become an effective sales professional.

  • Listens well and can read between the lines.
  • Pays close attention to details.
  • Manages workflow well.
  • Strategizes under pressure.
  • Always prepared for the unexpected.

The extrovert may not be patient enough to build a lasting business relationship and will often depend on their forceful personality to get the sale.  If the product is a one call, one sale product with little or no repeat business potential, this person will do fine.

An introvert may be quieter, more serious and a good listener that can adapt and strategize. This professional salesperson is trusted and becomes a friend of the client. This person tends to be prepared and present your product in a logical manner.

The ideal salesperson is an extrovert who can develop some of the introverts’ personality or an introvert that develops some extrovert traits. You need some of both those traits. Too far to the left or too far to the right is not good!

Thank you for reading. If I can be of any assistance please contact me at fred@lewisconsultinggroup.com or (208)957-7060