This is a guest blog by Michael Farley of http://www.farleysessentials.com/, a Christian business owner in Southern Oregon.
So what skills are needed to be a successful salesperson? In my experience, I am convinced that techniques and methods of sales are teachable to anyone who has the desire to learn. However, there are a few natural skills that are of great benefit if they already exist within those that want to be successful in sales. Without these, success will take a longer time but it can still be achieved. If there is no desire and dedication to learning or developing these skills, then the selling will be much more difficult and often very stressful.
Communication covers a lot of territory. I am not talking about superb orator skills here, but the ability to speak clearly and in a manner that is easy to understand. Sales is all about talking to people and getting them to understand what you are trying to communicate.
Ability to Listen
Along with speaking, a great salesperson knows when to stop talking and listen. They never cut someone off while they are talking, because in doing so they would fail to hear a key element in identifying what that person’s needs might be.
Asks Great Questions
Salespeople are naturally inquisitive and know that in order to isolate what the real need or desire is in the buyer, they need to ask questions that will lead them to the answer. They naturally ask questions because they have a desire to help solve their problem.
Another natural skill is the desire and ability to solve problems. Great salespeople are always solving problems. The ability to hone in on what the buyer’s problem is and offering suggestions that will effectively solve the problem with respect to what products or services you sell, generally results with a sale.
I am not necessarily speaking of your personal surroundings, but more with your thoughts and methods of planning. Sales people have a keen ability to break things down into smaller steps and organize a plan of action. They know how to analyze what their goal is and in what order the steps need to be in in order to reach that goal.
Self-Starter and Self-Finisher
A successful sales person moves forward on their own. They never need anyone to tell them when it is time to go to work because they know that if they do not work they will not earn. They are also very persistent to finish what they start. They achieve their goals, even if they are small ones.
Positive Self Image
Having the attitude that they can do just about anything that they put their mind to is usually very common among sales people. They do not cower from meeting or talking to people or trying something new. They rarely allow negatives that are either spoken to them or about them to effect what they are trying to accomplish because they know who they are and what they are capable of doing.
Well Mannered and Courteous
The best sales people are very well mannered. You may not realize it, but good manners is a way of showing respect for others. People are attracted to those that respect them and mutual respect is fundamental in building lasting relationships with people..including buyers.
Another very common inherent skill with great salespeople is that they are very persuasive or know how to get what they want. They focus on what they want and they are persistent to keep chipping away until they get what they want. They almost never give up or give in.
Person of Integrity
A salesperson without integrity will have many struggles which will often include hopping from job to job. Honesty in sales is so important and it is almost impossible for this skill to be taught. You or the person you are looking to hire is either a person of integrity or are not. Be as analytical as possible on the evaluation of this skill.