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What Makes an Excellent Salesperson

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SalespersonAn optometrist was teaching a new employee how to charge a customer: “As you are fitting his glasses, if he asks how much they cost, you say ‘4,500.00 pesos.’"

“If his eyes don’t flutter, say, ‘For the frames. The lenses will be 3,500.00 pesos’”

“If his eyes still don’t flutter, you add ‘Each.’”

Boy, oh, boy. That’s not customer service. That’s a rip off. That’s no way to make a sale.

“Hi. How are you doing?”

“Do you need any help? Well, if you do, just call me. I’ll be around.”

These are the words I hear from sales people every time I enter a shop or a boutique in America. A lot of emphasis is given on customer service. Businesses know that what keeps the enterprise going and has the potential to make it grow is not the brilliance of their finance people, nor the charisma of their CEO. It’s not even the products and services they churn out. The real tool for survival and growth is to create satisfied and loyal customers.

So what does it take to be an excellent sales person? Here’s a list. You will see that the sales people we most admire exhibit most of the qualities that follow.

  1. An excellent salesperson is a sight for sore eyes. Excellent sales people make good first impressions. They are sincere, pleasant, and easy to talk to—and they take care of how they look. The best salespeople are neat and well groomed. Their clothes and accessories may not be expensive, but they are appropriate for the occasion. Here’s a tip: Shoes are always a good indicator. Not too new, but freshly “shined” is what you want. An excellent salesperson knows that he never gets a second chance to create a first impression.
  2. An excellent salesperson loves to be with people. Excellent salespeople need to be liked. They want to please their customers and prospects. They go the extra mile, learn customer preferences, and work to educate their customers and keep them informed. And so the next trait follows.
  3. An excellent salesperson is a good listener. One thing I noticed with excellent sales people is they gently probe with questions, carefully listening to what their prospects reply. The brilliant thing is that they do not sell but lead customers to buy! They are patient with prospects, not pushy. They understand the most important key to successful selling: The sale today is not as important as the relationship tomorrow.
  4. An excellent salesperson behaves professionally. I always admire sales people who do not bad mouth their competitors. They will always point to their product pluses and the advantages they offer, but they will not verbally tear down others. Another thing is that excellent salespeople leave their problems at home. Everyone has problems—health, family, financial, personal—but excellent salespeople never bring these problems to work with them and let them affect their attitude.
  5. An excellent salesperson is an expert with his products or services. Great salespeople know their products inside and out. They are fanatical with details. They embrace nonstop learning. They can answer even the most complicated questions from customers without having to refer them to someone else in the company. This is why you will never see a great salesperson who is sloppy and careless.
  6. An excellent salesperson is driven to succeed. There are two important qualities excellent salespeople exhibit: creativity and assertiveness. They are energetic and they have a very strong work ethic so you see them putting in more hours than their coworkers because they are extremely competitive. They do not compete against others but against themselves. They learn more, do more, and produce more.
  7. An excellent salesperson has a service mentality. One thing that distinguishes great salespeople is that they are able to step outside themselves and see things from the customer’s point of view. They do not focus on their benefits or commissions but they focus on meeting all the customer’s needs.

There is a great difference between salespeople who are average and those who are excellent. Excellent salespeople never stop improving themselves. They always strive to be better. They read books, they listen to tapes, they attend non-company sponsored seminars— and they read columns like this one. (I’m serious!)

Above all, they are good servants because they exhibit what the Scriptures say. You know, the part that says something about doing unto to others what you want others to do unto you. Happy selling!

Print ed: 11/09


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