I train and coach thousands of salespeople each year and have taken advantage of this incredible opportunity to collect important data that is significant in helping my audience understand the complex nature of the “sales beast”. I have learned volumes about the motivation, behavior, skills and beliefs that propel high performers to be the best and have concluded there are real hidden drivers that provide fuel for high-flying success.
Recently, I spent time identifying the critical attributes I believe drive sales success and their relationship with salespeople to impact their sales success. Initial interviews with my sales audience surfaced attributes like: persistence, personality, intuition and likeability as well as time management, however, when I dug deeper and even took a behavioral x-ray, I found a totally different set of characteristics. Many salespeople don’t know what their success drivers are and never try to dig to determine them. They blindly accept their success, whether limited or not, as a bi-product of their hard work.
The following is my list of seven attributes all salespersons should exhibit and represent my findings from sales interactions year-to-date:
- Ambition and Drive represent the sales motor that delivers consistent, predictable success. It involves goal-setting, initiative, vitality, confidence and time-management. Salespeople who are ambitious and driven are self-directed toward successful outcomes and are firmly in charge of their destiny.
- Self-worth is the second most important attribute and is critical to making the difficult choices from which others shy away. It requires a commitment from the salesperson to work on themselves both personally and professionally. Goals play an important role in maintaining a healthy sense of worth.
- Presence is a characteristic many salespeople take for granted by making assumptions, often wrong, about how prospects feel when interacting with them. Presence is established through communication which comes from body language, tonality and the words a salesperson uses to convey the sales message. Its goal is to establish “equal business stature” with customers and prospects which contributes to a professional image.
- Awareness is critical to the salesperson understanding of the experience they are creating for the prospect as opposed to the one they believe will close the sale. It comes in two forms: self and situational. A salesperson with high self-awareness looks inward to analyze their success or lack of it, whereas, situational awareness guides the salesperson in assessing the circumstances they are currently experiencing.
- Guts is an offshoot of the amount of risk a salesperson is willing to assume. For some, asking difficult questions to disqualify a prospect is more risk than they can tolerate. For others, there is no risk, it is, rather, a time-management device that saves them time from “think it-overs”.
- Humor is an undervalued attribute as I define it and does not involve being a sales jokester. In my world, humor involves this quote, “Be serious about growing your business, but don’t take yourself too seriously!” I have never seen a sales call that resulted in death or dismemberment so lighten up and enjoy the experience.
- Process-driven is the last attribute among my seven and allows the salesperson to create a repeatable experience where they can brief and debrief their success or failure. Without it, they have no way of growing since there is no process in place to measure progress. Sales process is key to sustainable growth and predictability.
I have given you, hopefully, a different perspective on the attributes that fuel sales success. Skills such as building relationships, qualifying opportunity, finding need, closing business and making presentations, etc., are very important, but the seven elements I have covered in this article are their primary drivers. Take some time and rate yourself in the seven critical areas and work on those that you deem unacceptable. You will see immediate results!
Go conquer your worlds!
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Bill Bartlett is the president and owner of Corporate Strategies & Solutions, Inc., a Sandler Training Center. He is a certified Sandler trainer and business growth expert, and has been training and coaching presidents, managers and sales people for more than 22 years.