Nowadays everybody has something to sell. I find myself in that role as well, more than often. We are surrounded by sales people and they became more and more aggressive.
So the business world invented the transactional vs. consultative selling. And the consultant, especially in service, is supposed to be an advisor, to be a solution finder. Which probably made a difference for a while, but nowadays the competition is so great that in the end we feel like they all want to trick as to reach their sales targets, unless we really want to buy what they are selling. We learned all the questions, all the tricks.
So what are the ingredients of a great sales person nowadays? I say:
- likability and charisma – as they say, we’re in the human-to-human type of business, no matter what that business is. We buy from the people we like.
- presence and spontaneity – you can’t rely on scripts anymore, you gotta be there and make a great conversation, understand the clients needs and use whatever you are given to find the perfect solution, for each different customer, every time. They know you want to sell them something from the start, keep the connection and keep them interested despite that.
- naturalness and relaxation – yes, the targets are high. Yes, the clients are few. Yes, the economy is not great. But stressing too much about it won’t make things better. I like the sellers who understand that it’s hard for me as a customer as well. We sense and we like honesty, we sense when someone’s wearing a mask, when they act like a trained robot. It doesn’t work (anymore).
These are some hard to train soft skills, I know.
We practice that at improv. Actually, the idea for this entire article came after we had a demo-workshop for a couple of sales people and HR people that build development programs for sales.
No matter the industry (FMCG, pharma, telecom or banking) those traits came up over and over again as something that a successful salesman has.
Maybe you don’t work in sales, but I bet you have a project, an idea, or yourself to sell more often than you realise. Do you score high in those three areas?