Today, I interviewed baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. He talked about perseverance and never giving up. He talked about how the ability to focus under pressure has a lot to do with your preparation. Bench was talking about baseball, but the same rules apply to sales. Our conversation got me thinking about the traits of great salespeople. If asked to list all of the traits and qualities of sales superstars, I could name at least 20 or 30. Staying in line with the four P's of marketing (price, product, promotion, and place), here are my four P's of selling:
Great salespeople have an innate skill for connecting with others on a personal level. People buy from people they like, trust, and respect. Building rapport and connecting is the most important trait to start any relationship off on the right track. The dictionary defines personable as "having a pleasant appearance and manner."
Your smile, handshake, eye contact, and attitude will start you off on the right foot. But there's so much more that needs to be done to build the total relationship. And sometimes, no matter how personable you are, there are people with whom you won't be able to connect. Don't take it personally. That's why the second trait below is so crucial in selling.
Maintaining a positive attitude while getting rejections, going through setbacks, and dealing with difficult people is what separates the best from the rest. When you're in a bad state of mind, the first thing you need to do is change your outlook. Always think about how a difficult or negative situation can give you deeper insight and tools for developing a more intelligent approach to a sale. Or, maybe those situations simply give you the ability to move on to more promising opportunities.
You can also improve your attitude with a focus on constant learning and serving. By doing so, you'll develop a positive attitude that lasts. Everything you do contributes to your attitude, including the books your read and the people with whom you surround yourself. Always look for new connections with the potential to add value to your mission.
When you're passionate about what you sell, your passion propels you forward and often makes up for any minor deficiencies. People are attracted to others that are passionate about what they do. It keeps them wondering what it is about you and your work that they should find out more about. Your enthusiasm is contagious and most people want to be around that energy.
Famed journalist Edward R. Murrow once said, "To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful." Persuasiveness has a lot to do with confidence and how you present your product and service. What is it about what you sell that provides true value to the client? If, deep down, you don't believe in what you're selling, it will come across in your actions and expressions. To persuade other people, you need to research and learn your craft at multiple levels. The more you study and learn your craft, the more confidence you will have getting up to the plate. To persevere in selling, you must be backed up by the confidence that comes from constant preparation.