4 Skills Every Good Salesperson Must Have

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We are all in sales. No matter what we do for a living, we all represent ourselves, our employer, and our value system to those with whom we come in contact. The very best sales people are not those who will promise anything and harass people to close a deal. People like that don’t last long in any job. They burn too many bridges in the process of getting it done. In my experience, here are some thoughts on what makes a good salesperson:

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They believe in their product. Whether you’re selling pen, cars, software, or hope, you cannot be great at it without believing in your product. I’m not saying that the product has to be great, but you must believe in it in order to champion it with heart. I once bought hundreds of pen fors my company because of the infectious conversation with the lady who cold-called me. She was so excited about the darn pen that I just had to place a big order.

 They genuinely like people. Gregarious men and women have an advantage when it comes to sales. They genuinely like to meet new people. When I walk into a room full of people whom I do not know, my first instinct is to think “I wonder how many new friends I’ll meet.” Eventually my entrepreneurial self kicks in and I’ll think about how many potential clients I could have. But to this day, that’s never the first thought.

 They do what’s best for the customer even if it costs them the sale. I was very proud of one of my team members who recently told a client that he should not have our company rebuild their online back end system but use what they already have for the time being. While that cost us a potential big sale, it was the right thing for the client. I’m certain that when the time comes, we’ll rebuild the whole thing.

 They make you want to buy from them again. When you take care of your customer and you treat them well, they come back. Products cannot give you an “experience,” but people can. A beautifully designed store with bad salespeople will not last long. If I like you I’m more likely to buy more and more often than I need because it’s fun doing business with people you like. Just ask the guys at Max Muscle where I buy enough dietary supplements that I have enough inventory in hand to start my own franchise.

When you think of a great salesperson, who first comes to mind? 

  • Although early in my career, as I learn more about sales and juxtapose successful, ethical sales principals with Christian ethics and virtue I find that virtuous living seems to correspond closely with successful business practices.

    If you are genuinely seeking the best for your client or lead, it may or may not actually lead to a sale, but in the end it will lead to trust. Trust is worth a lot more than a one time sale. After first reading about the personalistic norm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personalism#Roman_Catholic_personalism) I can’t help but see it reflected in business practices that truly put the client first.

  • Shari

    Great post. I would add that a good salesperson listens. No matter what else they do right, if they don’t listen and identify what the customer needs, they won’t succeed. Your team member who did what was best for the customer had to have listened to the them in order to make that determination. Too many salespeople – especially those making scripted cold calls – don’t listen.

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