The term “sales” or “salesman” often carries a negative connotation. Those words
conjure up images of the snake oil salesmen or that shifty-eyed used car salesman.
However, there is nothing inherently bad or negative about the sales industry. In fact,
we are all salespersons. Selling is all about negotiating and persuading others to
some action or thought. When you go on a job interview you are selling yourself.
When a doctor tries to convince a patient to take medication, he or she is selling.
Every time we ask a supervisor for a raise, we need to sell ourselves.
One of the biggest benefits of becoming a salesperson is that it is a veritable
“recession proof” career (that’s if you are good at it). In most cases, a college degree
is not required. Most of the skills required for the job can be learned, even if you
aren’t a natural in it. But some people don’t want to get into sales because of their
negative perception of salespeople. Others are just too lazy to put in the hard work
required to have any success at it. At the same time, sales is simply not a career for
In the past, I did work in sales. There were certain aspects of it that I didn’t like.
Also, I was not 100% fond of the company that I worked for or its services.
Therefore, my performance was lackluster and I was pretty mediocre at my sales job.
However, I noted that some of my colleagues, working for the same company, were
great at sales. You might enjoy the challenge of it, as well.
Here are some abilities and actions that you need in order to be a good salesperson.
Of course, this isn‘t an all encompassing list. It is my opinion, based on personal
experience working in the sales industry.
- You should have good communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal.
Successful sales people are experts at getting their point across to
prospects and customers. I think that most good salespeople are
extroverts, but this doesn’t mean that introverted people can’t sell. Many
introverts are able to overcome any social anxiety or fears to make a
great living in sales. It is all about how you speak and what your body
language conveys to your prospects. You must know how to explain all
the features and benefits of the product in a way that is palpable for the
customer. Good sales people are honest and have integrity in what they
say and do.
- Good salespersons are very competitive. They get a rush every time they
score a sale. A good salesperson’s greatest competitor is their own self
and he or she is always looking for ways to improve. They set a goal to
achieve in daily, weekly, and monthly contacts and sales. A good
salesperson doesn’t just aim to meet the sales quota, but rather to break
records. A successful salesperson understands that is a numbers game,
so he or she will not pass up an opportunity to at least attempt a sale.
- You must enjoy working with people. You need to know how to build up a
rapport when dealing with prospects and customers. When you build a
relationship with a customer, it is important that you make the best first
impression. You must come across as a trustworthy and likeable person.
Even if the person that you are trying to sell to, loves the product, he or
she will not buy it from you if you aren’t likeable. Oftentimes, clients will
refer you to other prospective clients when you build good rapport.
- You need to be persistent and resilient. Salespeople hear the word “no” a
lot (probably a lot more than the word “yes”). It is vital that salespersons
don’t allow “rejection burnout” to set in. This can happen when you take
the “no’s” personally and loose confidence in yourself or the profession.
You need the ability to bounce back, return to prospects whom have told
you “no”, once or more times. It might seem gutsy, but there are cases
when a sale is made after the third or fourth follow up with the same
prospect. So, never give up.
- Listen and pay attention to your client or customer. Sometimes
salespersons are so hell bent on making a sell that they don’t listen. If
you don’t listen then you might miss vital clues and signals coming from
your client. Clients will tell you what their true motivations and desires are
and this information can be used to push “hot buttons”. Also, by listening
you can determine whether what you are selling is of value to the
customer. Thus, you won’t waste neither your time, nor the client’s time
trying to sell them a useless product or service.
- Good salespersons have self-confidence and a thick skin. Some
customers or prospects can by down right nasty and rude, but you have
to learn to deal with it if you want to be a success at sales. If cold calling
is required, customers might abruptly hang up on you. A friend of mine
goes door to door trying to make sales for his landscaping business.
Sometimes people slam the door in his face before he can finish the first
sentence. My friend does not allow this to destroy his confidence or stop
his hustle. He dusts his shoulders off and keeps it moving to the next
door. You are not defined by what someone else says or thinks about
- Learn and know your product. There are millions of products and services
just waiting to be sold. Find a brand, product or service that you respect
or already own to sell. The reason being is that you will have a very hard
time selling a product or service that you don’t understand or believe in.
Would you spend money on a product or service that is worthless?
Customers won’t buy a product from a salesperson that doesn’t know the
benefits and value of owning the product