Salespeople are made, not born. However, 5 qualities give you a higher chance of success.
“I’m not a good listener” is one of my least favourite phrases in life; it’s ludicrous and, often, a sign of self-obsession. Good listening starts with a sense of curiosity: about the world, about people, about experiences. In sales, a sense of curiosity is the fuel that drives you to ask, to probe and to clarify. This enables you to understand a potential client, giving you the information to help them. Ultimately, you’ll give them better advice to which they’re more likely to listen. In life, not just in sales, a sense of curiosity makes you a better person.
No matter how good you are at selling, you will always experience more people saying ‘no’ than saying ‘yes’. If you do not have the ability to overcome the feeling of rejection, then you are unlikely to be successful. Nobody wants to fail; nobody wants to be rejected but we have to separate the failure of the sales process from the failure of us as a human being. People are saying no to our product or service; they’re not rejecting us. Being able to do that well helps hugely in sales and in life.
Confidence is not about being the best storyteller or joker, nor is it about being the boorish dominator of conversations. Such people are often considered natural salespeople because they talk a lot – in fact, they are often the very worst of salespeople. Self-confidence is a feeling of trust or belief in yourself, in your ability to perform your job and it usually works together with competence: It’s your belief that you will be able to learn something that matters and that’s what I mean when I talk about confidence being an important attribute for sales.
Salespeople make things happen. Whether it’s a charity event, sporting fixture, community initiative or family occasion, they take an idea and make it work. To do that, it takes optimism, a belief that everything will turn out well (backed up by the hard work to make that come true!). Optimists tend to have positive outlooks packed full of enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is infectious and draws other people to the cause. All this positive energy gives you a much better chance of making things happen. It makes the world a happier place too!
Your desire to succeed is what drives you forward to be successful in sales. It keeps you going when times are tough and means you’re still in the game when times get better. Hunger, and the motivation it provides, can take many forms: hunger to earn good money, to win and be the best, to prove a point or, as in my case, to change your life for the better. Whilst every one of these qualities is important, the other 4 simply don’t matter if you don’t have the hunger. Without it, you’ll leave the job before you give yourself the chance to succeed.