Be a critical thinker

The best salespeople don’t simply rely on a script that dictates every step of how they should sell a product or service, but rather they adapt or alter their sales pitches in accordance with the prospective customer, time and place. This also means having the ability to think outside the box in challenging their existing sales pitches and processes to reach higher levels.

Be disciplined

A sales rep who has an unrelenting attitude in their sales approach will go above and beyond to do whatever it takes to close the deal. In many cases, learning how to be a better salesman simply boils down to developing a disciplined work ethic.

Be open minded

A big part of being open-minded is demonstrating a willingness to listen. Most salesmen make the mistake of simply berating prospects with an overwhelming deluge of information. The best sales conversations take place when the rep is doing less talking and more listening, showing an open-mind to whatever problems the prospective customer is suffering from.

Be charismatic

A charismatic person has the ability to form a sense of connection or understanding between themselves and their prospects. Customers view truly charismatic salespeople as not just sales reps hawking a product or service, but someone who they can have a real meaningful conversation with.

Be persistent

Unfortunately, even the best sales reps will hear “no” over and over again. The key to being a successful salesperson is to always be persistent, even in the face of overwhelmingly negative responses. Sales reps must doggedly chase prospects and be willing to approach them from different angles.

Be focused

Given that sales reps often have a high volume of work and activity goals to reach, they must be able to concentrate on a given task without becoming overwhelmed or distracted. When they’re concentrated on the task or sales call at hand, it will show in the quality of their sales pitch.

Be communicative

Naturally, one of the most important attributes for any top salesperson is to be an effective communicator. If you aren’t capable of articulating your thoughts in an easily comprehensible manner, even your best sales pitches will ultimately fall on deaf ears. Be clear and concise in what you are communicating

Be resourceful

A successful sales rep needs to be resourceful, which is especially important for reaching out and targeting potential customers. This means going above and beyond and using every resource or asset at his or her fingertips to close the deal. Sometimes, figuring out how to be a better salesman requires thinking outside the box of traditional sales methods and processes.

Be passionate

When reps have genuine passion for and belief in their product, it will be readily apparent in their sales pitches. The more passionate a rep is about what they’re selling and who they’re representing, the more genuine the sales conversation will be. If you ask sales veterans how to be a great salesperson, they will all tell you that you have to be passionate about your work.

Be competitive

The most successful sales reps are extremely competitive by nature and are constantly striving to be the top salespeople within their company and the industry. They set the bar as high as possible, giving themselves lofty targets to shoot for – even if they miss their ambitious targets, they will still be well-positioned to achieve great things.

Be firm

Salesmen must have a firmness of spirit to get them through high pressure or difficult times. They must also demonstrate this firmness and strong principles when making follow-up calls with both potential customers and prospects who have said no. This is another essential as you learn how to be a great salesperson.

Be curious

People who are curious and are generally interested in expanding their intellectual horizons tend to gain more knowledge on a regular basis than those who don’t. They are constantly looking to learn more about their product, their customers and how they can bridge the gap between both parties.

Be confident

Confidence is a subset of charisma. The best and most charismatic salespeople believe fervently in themselves, their company and their product or service. Confident salespeople act fearlessly and are willing to take risks without worrying about hearing a “no” from a customer or losing out on a potential opportunity.

Qualities that separate excellent salespersons from the rest

1. Product knowledge

An exceptional salesperson always starts with knowledge. They are knowledgeable, down to every detail, on the products they sell. They are experts on product uses, mechanics, systems, and operations. Because of their knowledge, elite salespeople don’t have to sell themselves, they simply have to present the information the customer needs to understand. Personality is an important factor in sales, but it pales in comparison to what knowledge and being able to answer customer questions brings to the table. Consumers aren’t looking for a new friend, they are looking to upgrade and enhance the efficiency of their business.

2. Passionate

When a salesperson believes in what they are selling, it is more exciting for them to sell. It gives them opportunities to show off a product they are proud to be involved with. A sales rep can even veer on the more introverted side of a personality, but if they are passionate about what they are selling, and how it can greatly improve the productivity of a business, not only financially, but also in the reduction of stress and effort for their customers, the easier it is to sell the product they represent.

3. Organized

The more organized a salesperson is with customer information, the more notes they take on what products or systems have been sold/installed, where the problems have been, and what issues are still open or have been escalated, the better able they are to keep their customers happy long-term. When a salesperson has the detail the customer needs, even the detail the customer should have organized themselves, the more trust is developed between the customer and the salesperson.

4. Hungry

Great salespeople not only nurture the customer accounts they’ve inherited, but they seek and hunger to develop new connections and to find new ways to explore avenues of business with existing customers. They are willing to cold-call. They persist until they get themselves in front of key people to land new accounts. Their hunger doesn’t diminish in the face of rejection; instead, it challenges them to find new ways to get to the same end. Top performers thrive on the idea of potential, rather than on the rigid idea of achievement or not.

5. Personable

People skills are a must to stay at the top of the game is sales. This doesn’t mean all salespeople need to be superficial charmers, but they cannot be so introverted that customers misread their demeanor as rude or otherwise aloof.

Great salespeople study potential customers and what specific needs their product would meet for them. These observations help them to know when to talk, and when to listen. It helps them to know how much to share to establish trust and security between themselves and the potential customer, and also know when to be less revealing as a strategy to get the customer in the position of the seeker.

Exceptional salespeople close deals in such a manner that the customer believes as if the close of the deal was their own choice.

6. Hard working

Extraordinary salespeople understand the sale doesn’t stop at the close of the deal. The sale continues as long as the customer is using their services. Great salespeople understand there will be complications, and that it is up to them, as the customer’s point-of contact, to get customer issues resolved in as quickly and efficiently a fashion as possible. Top salespeople are well-networked within their own company. They are supported by their inside-sales teams, engineers, and those in upper management. When they encounter customer problems they cannot resolve on their own, they have a team of support to help them work the issues to solution.  

7. Self-motivated

Extraordinary salespeople recognize the need for support and guidance; however, they do not need appreciate feeling babysat. They are self-motivated and take responsibility for their territory. This sense of responsibility makes it easier for managers and upper executives to trust them when making decisions. Needy salespeople consume so much energy from their managers, that they end up wasting valuable time that could have been better spent out in the field taking risks and learning from their mistakes. Exceptional salespeople are competitive by their nature. They strive to be the top grossing salesperson on their team. The rewards to this are plentiful when it comes to bonuses, commissions and free vacations.

8. Time awareness

Great salespeople view time as their most important reputation-building commodity. Managing time well is demonstrative of their leadership style, sense of responsibility, trustworthiness, dependability, scheduling, and of their ability to follow through. Exceptional salespeople make sure to be on time for customer meetings, for in-house forecasting calls with their team, and when scheduling appointments with customers from different time zones. Great salespeople know if they’re not on time, they are not the only person who is frowned upon, as the salesperson is representative of the value, standards and worth of the company as a whole. One irresponsible or disrespectful salesperson can destroy the reputation of the entire company in the eyes of a disgruntled customer.

9. Social awareness

Exceptional salespeople know the importance of being socially aware when it comes to office politics.  They know how to play the game, but do so with high levels of self-possession and integrity. They do not engage deeply in gossip. They are cognizant of who they are, and what information they share when attending company-wide events. They control the expression of their opinions and their overall levels of maturity in business environments where alcohol is involved. Extraordinary salespeople understand that respect from their peers runs deeper than being the “fun party person.” They make it a point to be a team-player, and yet are mindful not to blend work relationships to friendships that could potentially lead them to lose their sense of authority or status with that particular individual.

10. Work-life balance

Because sales can be an all-consuming 24-hour-a- day career, the best salespeople make sure to live with a healthy work-life balance. They are able to distinguish needy customers from those who are truly in need of troubleshooting, and are more than willing to work on issues in need of urgent care on their down time. They make sure to get away for long weekends, to take the necessary time to enjoy their families and to shut down their electronics in an effort to recharge. Without down time, it is too easy to burnout and lose motivation. Exceptional salespeople do not put themselves in this position. They put their well-being above all else because it is their well-being that keeps them at the top of their game.

By Catherine Mungai

An Outgoing girl based in Nairobi, Kenya who loves life, writing and reading.

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