Boost Sales with Enthused and Committed Salespeople
By Michelle Collins | October 31, 2001
Selling is an integral part of any successful business. No matter how good your product or service is, you aren't likely to get far if your approach to sales is haphazard or inconsistent.
Most entrepreneurs recognize the value of a good salesperson, but that doesn't mean great sales staff are easy to find or manage.
To uncover the characteristics that set great salespeople apart from the crowd, we spoke to Rick McCutcheon. Rick is president of R.A. McCutcheon Consulting, a company that helps other businesses increase their sales. As far as Rick is concerned, your business is only as good as your sales team.
So without further ado, here are the top 10 characteristics of the perfect salesperson, according to Rick McCutcheon.
- Optimizing time
A great salesperson knows how to optimize his/her time and understands that time is money. This person is good at managing appointment bookings, maximizing the number of appointments in a single area during the time they are there. They also use time management skills to get as many appointments as possible, with good qualified prospects, in as little time as possible.
Rick's tip: Make sales calls between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., before people have gotten caught up in their daily routine.
Passion for your product
Another marker is passion for the products and services they sell. A great salesperson is enthusiastic and involved in the field. This passion creates self-motivation, a key ingredient for successful sales. As well, their high level of interest helps them convey the benefits of the products they are selling to prospective customers.
Rick's tip: Passion is a quality that cannot be taught. It must come from within: "I find the most motivated salespeople are the ones that sell a product or service that they really believe in, and they work in a field that they have a very high interest in."
Make the most of management
This is where you come in. Great management will make for great salespeople. How can you mould your staff into what you want? The key lies in setting clearly defined goals and then taking the time to ensure your staff understand and are working toward these same goals.
Rick's tip: Don't forget to give positive feedback.
Finding team players
The best salespeople understand that building a solid customer relationship is more important than rushing from one sale to the next. As a result, they are willing to work with other team members to achieve this common goal.
Mirroring your customers
Adaptability is another trait of great salespeople who are able to mirror your customers. They are open to learning a little more about the company you want to do business with, and they use that knowledge to their best advantage. They'll dress like the clients and maybe even find a common interest. Warming up the customers is something a great salesperson can do with ease.
Rick's tip: Don't force the interest. If your salespeople are stiff and come across as insincere, you could lose the sale.
Learning for life
Education doesn't end when you leave the classroom; instead, it is just beginning. Great salespeople understand this and embrace it. They are willing to learn about their profession as it changes and evolves, especially when it comes to new technologies.
Rick's tip: The Canadian Professional Sales Association (C.P.S.A.) offers ongoing training classes.
Know thy competition
Investigating the competition is an exciting prospect for a great salesperson. They will wander into competitors' booths at trade shows to see what they offer. The best salespeople will also have one area of expertise and stick with it, constantly looking for new opportunities and maintaining relationships with existing customers.
Rick's tip: "The more you know your competition, the more effective you can be selling against them. You know their successes; you know their failures."
Making technology work
Using technology to their best advantage is another mark of good salespeople. They will be comfortable using contact managers such as GoldMine or Act!, so those customer follow-ups never fall through the cracks.
Top salespeople know who and where their best customers are. Having a rating system that identifies top, mid, and lower level customers keeps them organized and allows them to communicate with each level on a regular basis of four times a year.
Rick's tip: Contact each customer at least four times a year. Salespeople should meet top-level customers in person. Mid-level and lower level accounts can be contacted through other means such as a personal letter, email, or a newsletter.
Knowing the roles and rules of the game
Last, but definitely not least, great salespeople will follow the process that you set out for them from beginning to end. They know that chasing the carrot is less effective than taking care of your steady customers.