Key Characteristics of Successful Sales People

Our Consultancy additionally help to recruit high calibre sales professionals for our clients. We are often asked to find sales people who are “guaranteed to be successful”.  So the question we are often asked is what are the “key characteristics” of Top Successful Sales People?

Given sales is the lifeblood of all profit making companies it is critical to appoint the right sales person for your business, so below are some of the main aspects to consider when recruiting  a new sales person for your company.

Excellent Questioning Skills
Most successful sales people will have an inquisitive nature and therefore do not make assumptions.  They are naturally and genuinely interested in finding out about a client and their business and uncovering their requirements.  They will always ask searching questions and lead their customers through an organised thought process which in turn leads to a greater understanding and recognition of the customer’s situation.

Listening & Understanding
Most people make the wrong assumption that good sales people are talkers but this is not true, successful sales people listen harder than most and keep qualifying their understanding of the client’s requirements and they make sure that they give a customer plenty of time to completely outline what they want.  They will always put checks in place to make sure they have uncovered the client’s needs and qualified their understanding before selling back as they understand, if they sell back too early they risk alienating their client who will think they are not listening and rushing to a conclusion. There is an old saying in sales “you have two ears and only one mouth so use them in that same ratio”.

Successful sales people are excellent at multi-tasking, in a sales situation, sales people are often not only listening and understanding what the client is telling them but are thinking two to three steps ahead, mirroring and empathising with the client while also working out the other motivators that the client may have but is not disclosing or may not recognise.  This is all done simultaneously and at pace.

Work Ethic
Successful sales people know the true value of preparation before speaking to potentially new or existing clients, they realise there are no short cuts in getting around prospecting and investigating all potential selling opportunities in their designated territory and understand that they cannot live off leads passed to them alone and they need to have an in-built work ethic to ensure that their pipeline does not dry up.  They will also work hard to ensure that their knowledge is “up to date” on their market’s products/services and their competition and are fully aware of all other issues that can impact their clients.

Maintaining and communicating passion and enthusiasm is difficult. Successful salespeople understand that they cannot afford to sound “jaded” or “dejected” even if they are going through a particularly difficult sales period and have the ability to manage their own confidence and self-belief, irrespective of how difficult the market may be at that particular moment.

Ethical & Honest
Successful sales people are ethical and honest, they take responsibility for their own sales results and they realise that a customer’s perception of their products/services is reflected by them.  Most companies/people want to buy from experts that they can trust and that trust has to be earned by the sales person.  If a sales person has stayed in their role for over 5 years and consistently performed the chances are they are ethical, honest and have an excellent awareness of their own personal brand.

Successful sales people tend to be and have to be braver than most others in business.  It is sales people that have to pioneer and breakdown barriers as they build new client relationships and develop existing ones.  They put their “personal brand” on the line every day, persuading their potential and current clients to trust them and the company they work for to deliver.  Successful salespeople realise they have to be courageous, as they are in a role where their success or failure will be defined by the revenue they achieve against target and that this is beyond dispute and that the sales they make are the lifeblood for the company they work for.

One of the best ways to assess a sales person “in action” is to ask them to do a role play in the interview process.  Create a scenario where your hiring manager is the Potential Customer and the Candidate is the salesperson conducting a first meeting.  This will enable you to see how they come across in a “sales situation” and find out if they are asking the right questions to uncover “customer needs”.  This combined with ensuring you have “proof” of a proven track record should enable you to make a good hiring decision.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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