Success in sales doesn’t just happen, well not continually. Sure we have all had a ‘blue bird’ from time to time, but to enjoy long-term success in sales you need to work at it. This doesn’t suggest I am taking sides on the debate on whether sales people are born or made. Regardless of where you sit on that argument, success comes to those who put in the smartest and greatest effort.
Here are 6 things I have found consistent with those sales people I have worked with and who have enjoyed the greatest success:
- They know their ideal client. This might sound obvious and simple, but successful sales people know this in depth. They know in what industry their ideal clients operate? In what area they operate? What benefits they can deliver to this ideal client that will be seen of value? They know who in the organisation is the decision maker?
- They know their product/service, their company and their competition. Again this appears obvious, but good sales people know this from the buyer’s perspective. What is it their product or service can do for their client? What problem does it solve? How does it help increase profits? What value does it add? How does it differ from others in the market? What weaknesses are the competitors likely to target? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors? They are always looking to ‘take a walk in the buyers shoes’
- They spend the right amount of time with the right prospects and clients. Once good sales people have identified their ideal client, they learn where they ‘hang out’ and how best to communicate with them. The right contact help them identify the real needs of the organisation and those involved in the decision making process. The level of contact and form of communication is appropriate and ‘fit for purpose’. Good sales people know how to best communicate with their prospects and clients and develop a sound process for doing so.
- They know how to build networks. Depending of the research, it is thought that buyers are 50% – 70% into their decision making process before engaging with a sales person. Good salespeople build a network of individuals and businesses so they learn of opportunities early and can build their and their company’s credibility.
- They now how their own system works. All too often sales people think their job is done when the order is signed. Good salespeople know that the delivery, implementation and ongoing support of what they have sold are critical to future opportunities. To achieve this they know internal networking is as important as building their external networks. Good sales persons sell themselves and their opportunities internally as well as they sell to the prospect. Senior managers, marketing, support personnel, R&D can all have an impact on their ability to deliver what they have sold on time and fully compliant.
- They know when to walk away. Despite all doing all the right things in identifying and developing a prospect, all sales people will find at some time they are working with an opportunity that just doesn’t fit the mould. Good sales people know that time spent on opportunities that have little chance of success is wasted time. Time that could be better spent on finding or developing the ‘right’ opportunities.
These 6 traits appear to come naturally to good sales people, but all sales people can improve their success by focussing on these behaviours. Then they will know what needs to be done to create a sound relationship where the sale comes as a natural part of the process.