By Ibrahim Alkurd, CEO of New Mine, a blockchain mining hardware and software company, and a partner at Lavaliere Capital, a digital asset hedge fund
Every business is selling something, whether it be a product or a service. Some of the highest-paid people in large organizations are the salespeople. Without a healthy revenue stream from sales, a company risks failing, so great salespeople are a fundamental part of any team.
As a business leader, you need to hire the right salespeople — and you often need to be a great salesperson yourself. So, what are the key traits that define someone’s ability to sell?
Confidence is important, but remember that there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. For a salesperson to succeed, they must believe in the product or the service they’re selling. If they can’t believe in it, then why should the prospective client cash out their hard-earned money for it?
You can usually spot a salesperson straightaway. They’re charismatic and make the client feel welcome. Remember that emotions drive the decisions someone makes. You’re not going to close that sale if you’re not making a good impression. To make a good impression, take the time to get to know the client. Your entire discussion doesn’t have to be business related.
3. Listening Skills
A lot of salespeople talk at you, instead of to you. This approach risks losing the attention of the prospect and inhibits them from asking questions they may have. Spend more time listening to the client so you can assess their needs and whether your product or service is a good fit for them. There’s no point spending your time trying to sell something to someone who doesn’t need it.
Great salespeople set targets and do their utmost to achieve them. These goals should be ambitious, yet realistic. If a goal isn’t met, reassess what was done well and what could have been done better. Not meeting goals is fine as long as you learn from it and it doesn’t happen all of the time.
As another consideration for leaders of sales teams, salespeople are often rewarded a percentage of the sales they generate. This helps drive them to excel.
In sales, you often get used to the word “no.” Resilience is an important trait in life in general but it’s particularly important in sales. If a pitch doesn’t yield a positive outcome, don’t let it affect your confidence when speaking to the next potential client. Use failure to drive you to do better the next time around.
Some salespeople give up after just one follow-up. This is bad news because most sales require more than one follow-up to close. That’s why it’s important to utilize a customer relationship management tool to manage your prospects. A CRM allows a company to manage and analyze its interactions with past, current and prospective clients. This can be particularly useful when managing a large pool of people.
You often have to be assertive to close that sale. Use a clear and calm voice when speaking to the prospect. Avoid speaking too quickly because this may be confusing and come across as desperate. Remember to dress the part, too. People judge one another by the way they dress before they’ve even uttered a word. Dressing the part will make prospects feel more secure when dealing with you and this will help you be more assertive.
Of course, there are other traits that make a great salesperson, but these are some of the ones that I have found to be the most important in my career. Selling is both an art and a science. A salesperson should constantly be working toward refining and perfecting their ability to sell. The hunger to excel and constantly learn is what distinguishes a great salesperson from a good one.