What does it mean to be a good salesperson? Do you think anyone could pursue this career or one has to be a natural-born for it? In this article we will reveal the top 10 qualities of a good salesperson, the main differences between ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’, and much more.
Many people have distorted views of salespeople and/or have had detrimental experiences because of them. Although there are multiple misconceptions connected to it, a significant reason could be related to the lack of training on the necessary abilities one needs to have in order to be successful in this role. In order to understand it all, let’s start with the basics:
A salesperson is an individual, who sells something - an object, an experience, etc.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a salesperson is “a person whose job is to sell things.”
According to Collins Dictionary, “a salesperson is a person who sells things, either in a shop or directly to customers on behalf of a company.”
Inside the sales world, there are multiple roles one could choose; however, the main ones are called ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers.’ Have you ever heard of them? When choosing a sales job, you will typically be responsible to either be a ‘hunter’ or a ‘farmer’. What does that mean? What are the main differences between them?
Hunters: those are people highly motivated by commission and the chase after new clients and deals.
Farmers: those are nurturing people, who aim to continue and build lasting relationships with already existing clients (particularly connected with customer experience).
A sales job is definitely not for everyone. Why? It requires a set of skills usually deeply attached to each and every single person’s personality. Nonetheless, for those who are ambitious and are perseverent, there are always ways to develop these abilities putting them into practice:
If you wish to be a good salesperson, your communication skills must be very sharp. This includes verbal & nonverbal communication, as well as active listening, body language, and eye contact. A salesperson must transmit confidence and professionalism through their words and behavior. This all might sound obvious, but if you are not on top of your communication game, you will most likely miss out on a deal because of it. Therefore, if you feel the need to, consider taking online public speaking classes, communication courses, or even join a theatre club - anything that will help you practice this essential ability. At the end of the day, in order to sell something, you must present the product or experience using specific words and strategies to engage your client or future client. Make sure to work on your communication and presentation skills.
Reliability is one of the top 10 qualities of a good salesperson. Why? Clients will not close a deal with you if they feel they cannot rely on your professionalism, if they do not notice there is honesty in what you are trying to sell them, and if you are not consistent. To be a reliable person is to be trusted by others. This can be seen in how fast you respond to their phone call and emails and if you are coherent and consistent in the facts you project. In most cases, you will need to have a deep knowledge on the product and/or experience you are selling.
As we just covered in the previous skill, having a deep knowledge of the product and/or experience being sold is vital when speaking to the client. The more you know, the more you can sell if presented in a strategic way. However, this knowledge is not only related to what you are selling, but also to the client’s needs and their corporate culture. Every client has different needs and approaches; therefore, it is the salesperson’s role to perceive them and use them to their advantage.
In order to be a good salesperson, self-drive is an indispensable skill to have. Consequently, make sure to believe in what you are selling and connect to your company’s values and principles - trust me when I say this is extremely important as it will interfere and affect your self-drive and passion. Clients can instantly understand if you are passionate about what you do because your customer service skills will speak out loud, and they will rather purchase a product from an organization that actually believes in what they are selling to their public than from a company that only cares about money.
Food for thought - what would you feel more motivated to sell? Something you believe in or a random item? Would your self-drive be impacted by it?
When we talk about selling an item or an event, negotiation skills are always needed. There will be times in which the client does not agree with the price, or wants a different service, or wants to add ideas and collaborations to a contract, etc. For this reason, you will need to practice and know all aspects of the product you are selling. If you are not confident to hold a meeting by yourself, ask a person with more experience to participate and interfere if needed. However, the best way to work on your negotiation skills is to shadow meetings and know your stuff like the palm of your hand.
An organized person will most-likely have the base to succeed in the sales career as it is part of our top 10 qualities of a good salesperson. It is true that this is a skill wanted, needed, and valued in most careers - especially in the salesforce.
How is organization applied to a sales job? The whole selling process requires organization, mainly when:
Scheduling meetings & phone calls
Responding to emails
Making sure the product sold is ready to be delivered
Creating PowerPoint presentations
Creating an excel sheet with clients’ information
When dealing with the client and in order to successfully sell a product, empathy is necessary.
Wait what does empathy mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, empathy is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”
This being said, if a seller is able to deeply connect with the client and build a strong and long lasting relationship with them through empathy, they are most likely to continue to purchase your products/services, as well as spread the word to others. Empathy is a huge quality to have when nurturing a relationship, mainly if you are a farmer.
Our top 8 quality of a good salesperson is adaptability. This refers to how flexible you are with unexpected situations. Just like we covered in the negotiation quality above, there will be cases in which clients change their mind, have rough feedback, and are looking for different things. What will you do then? Adapt quickly, speak with your team & supervisor, and get back to them as soon as possible to secure your sale and continue this relationship with your client.
Improvisation is key when it comes to selling a product/service. This skill is tied up to communication, negotiation, and adaptability. Some will not agree with it, but there are many reasons a salesperson should know how to improvise.
A sales professional should not get scared or freeze when asked unexpected questions, or when they are put in the spot by the client. Knowing how to improvise (without anyone noticing) will show your confidence and will show you are updated with it all. You will definitely want to work on this ability closely.
Teamwork is our last, but not least top 10 quality of a good salesperson.
Selling is never done 100% by only 1 individual. There is usually a team behind it in order to deliver the product and make sure the entire process runs smoothly. Therefore, make sure to be a teamplayer and have quality relationships with every person in your department, you never know when you will need them to assist you.
These were only 10 qualities of a good salesperson that could be added to an entire list of other required qualities needed. All employers look for different characteristics when recruiting a sales person. However, the ones mentioned above are essential traits to keep in mind when applying for sales jobs.
If you have all the top 10 qualities of a good salesperson, there are tons of jobs you could be successful in. There is a wide range of opportunities you could apply your abilities, and believe me when I tell you a variety in this career exists!
These are the best jobs for salespeople if you are a:
Real estate agent
Medical-device sales/pharmaceutical sales representative
The bright side about being a salesperson is that you will never lack opportunities anywhere you go as this is a universal career. However, how about choosing the best destinations for your dream job?
Here is a list of the best countries to pursue a career in sales in Europe:
There are multiple job boards a person could use in order to find vacancies in the sales world. It all comes down to your objectives, life goals, and personal & professional experience. Therefore, if you are looking for sales jobs:
If you are looking for a career to pursue and you are considering sales, make sure you have gotten what it takes by developing the top 10 qualities of a good salesperson. However, if you are already in the sales market, make sure to continue to practice your skills to be successful and hit your goals. Companies tend to demand a lot from their hunters & farmers. This being said, make them and yourselves proud with your own achievement and qualities.
I hope you enjoyed reading more about this wonderful and challenging career, and if you have any other qualities you believe are essential traits that a salesperson should have, make sure to let us know in the comments below.