your next sales superstar


Everything is for sale

As a young genius entering the recruitment market, I announced to the boss that I didn’t want to recruit salespeople. My reasoning? The market was too small.

By way of response, he asked me to point at something that had NOT been sold. What about the desk? Or chair? Or the wallpaper? Or the paste holding it up? Or the plasterboard behind that? The temperature of the air?

He hammered the point. The steel in this desk? Sold at least three times – to the manufacturer, then a distributor, then to us. I got the memo and stuck with sales.

Making people agree with you vs. selling

My preconception around what makes a good salesperson was also challenged and shaped during this period in my career.

Initially, it was whoever seemed the most outwardly confident. For many of us, the ‘best’ salespeople are the extroverts who hold court at barbeques – they can sell anything to anyone, whether it’s wanted or not (ice to eskimos?) and can drown out any reservations until we all go along with their idea.

As it turns out, these people struggle to maintain sustained results in selling. They end up in sales jobs, however, based on our perception of their confidence and ‘influencing’ skills on display.

Common traits of successful salespeople

In reality, good salespeople, who achieve results consistently, tended to exhibit the following core traits (in addition to relevant subject matter expertise):

  • Time-management
  • A defined sense of purpose
  • High levels of personal accountability
  • Persistence in the face of setbacks
  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • An analytical, data driven approach

What does good sales look like?

From my experience, these people begin at the end of the process – trying to understand the ultimate goal for the other party? Then they take the following (general) steps:

  • Clarify this potentially beneficial goal (articulate)
  • Establish the value of that goal to the other party (empathetic)
  • Establish the challenges and investment required to reach the goal (commercial)
  • Demonstrate their qualification for delivering that goal (expert)
  • Define an agreed roadmap for collaboration (structured result)

They are structuring a deal with another party, based on what the other party wants. They are continually qualifying a process, and if the arrangement does not make sense, they don’t gloss over the issue – rather, they highlight it.

Top salespeople are adaptable, collaborative and are comfortable being highly accountable on a regular basis. I am convinced that most companies have a group of potential sales superstars already working in the business in various other roles, just waiting to be identified and developed. The challenge often lies in identifying those core traits, providing a pathway out of their current role and overcoming the common perception of sales as a dark art.

Companies that proactively identify, engage and attract the core competencies for sustained sales performance have a huge advantage over their competition. If you would like to discuss how this is achievable, call Chris at Stone today on 0430 160 709.