Why is it that the image of the sales person in popular culture today is so unflattering? Typically, it’s the suave risk-taker who takes no prisoners and lives a hectic, decadent life. They only care about the big win and have no consideration for who they have to step over to succeed.
Think about “Wall Street,” “Boiler Room,” “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Jerry Maguire”: But how much of this is representative of reality, or is it all just manufactured drama? The answer: Mostly the latter.
Most of us know that the Buddy Fox’s and Bob Sugar’s of the world are not the right fit for our sales teams. But what traits does a real top-performing salesperson have, and what is the right mix? Let’s take a closer look.
Modesty – An article from the Harvard Business Review states that “91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility.” This may seem counter intuitive until you consider the fact that effective reps don’t turn off prospects with bravado or aggressiveness, but rather it is the polite and friendly message that is effective.
Urgency – Read closely because we’re not talking about the “ABC’s” of sales … Always Be Closing. No, the ABC model is often tied to closing a deal. The best sales people tie urgency not to receiving the signature on the contract but in implementing the solution that delivers results. They tie the urgency is about the speed to driving business impact. The urgency is about the customer, not about themselves.
Preparation – Each customer is unique; so, too, are their needs. Two companies may need the same piece of manufacturing equipment, but they may need them for different reasons. A rep’s sales approach needs to focus on the needs of the customer and not just going through the sales deck. This comes through in their preparation, how much do they know about the customer? What unique questions have they prepared? How have they customized their presentation? What relevant case studies are they prepared to share?
Sociability – Effective salespeople enjoy meeting people. Sales is a numbers game, and by having a large network of peers and contacts, reps are more likely to have a steady flow of funnel activity. Being sociable with clients and creating relationships is also effective because not everyone is necessarily in the market to buy your product at all times, but by building and maintaining rapport with them, reps can be there when the time is right.
Thick Skin – Sales people hear “No” a lot, but can’t get discouraged. There are a lot of people competing to get the time and attention of executives and decisions makers. Top performers maintain a positive attitude about the working the sales process and realize that sales is a numbers game. The more opportunity that goes into the top of the funnel delivers more deals out of the bottom.
Results-oriented – You want people who are not only driven to win deals but who are driven to drive customer success. Because when they win a sale, you win a customer. Hopefully it is a profitable customer that your business will have for a long time. Being driven means they will show more ambitious and creative approaches to their sales presentations
So don’t be fooled by the person who thinks they have to act like Gordon Gecko to succeed in the sales world. The truth is, a team of salespeople that all act like the characters in the movies are probably going to a lot more damage to your company than good.
Learn more about how Kodiak Group’s approach can help build a sales transformation program that improves the skills and behavior of your team and gives you a competitive advantage.