As SalesCrunch CEO Sean Black said, “Sales is the lifeblood of any business.” It is crucial that a sales team is finely tuned to be as effective and efficient as possible. Here are a few ideas to help build and develop a powerful and capable sales team:
Determining the Right Salespeople: Traits All Sales Teams should possess
Think of a typical Car Salesmen: Well dressed and perky, he approaches customers and enthusiastically tells them how excited he is to help them pick the right car today. He begins talking, in an incredibly causal and friendly tone, about all the amazing deals going on right now. With a hand gently placed on the customer’s back between your shoulder blades, he slowly guiding them around the sea of cars- all with that same toothy grin he’s been wearing since the moment they arrived.
We typically associate sales people with this personality- outgoing, passionate, articulate, confident, etc. And usually, these traits help salespeople close leads. However, these traits alone do not always translate into good salespeople. Here are some other traits proven to be more indicative of quality salesmanship:
It is key that your sales team has a quite side as well. According to this 2012 study salespeople who are ambiverts– those who can exhibit both introverted and extraverted qualities- are more successful than those who are wholly extraverted. The study found that when a customer was introverted, they were put-off by extraverted sales people’s enthusiasm. They were much more likely to commit to buying if the salesperson was able to reaffirm and listen to the introverted customer.
This conclusion is intuitive when considering with whom people choose to socialize. We tend to gravitate towards those with similar values, interests, and energy levels. People who enjoy bull riding probably won’t enjoy antique shopping. It follows that we want to associate with (and buy products endorsed by) those who share our perspective on life.
With almost half of all people identifying as introverted it is crucial that your sales team has the emotional intelligence and aptitude to adapt to customer’s personalities. The more your sales team resonates with your potential customers, the more likely they are to close.
“Those who are the most successful are the ones who listen most closely to the customer.”
-Andy Taylor, CEO Rent-A-Car
Listening and understanding what the customer is actually interested in is a necessity for sales. It is worthless, for both the consumer and the company, if the product is not relevant to the consumer’s needs. It is the job of the salesman to articulate this relevance to anyone interested.
The first step is to listen. By actually committing to hearing what the costumer has to say, a salesperson can adapt his pitch to fit the needs of the consumer. This will of course lead to not only more lead closes, but also a higher customer satisfaction. If the consumer feels like his opinion is being taken into account, they will certainly respond positively.
Next is to empathize with the customer. The easiest and most effective way to convey empathy (regardless if pitching a product in person or over the phone) is to use active listening strategies. Active listening simply means being engaged in the conversation. Allowing the customer to do most of the talking, with the sales team subtly guiding the discussion a certain way, is a far more effective way to close a lead than having a salesperson strong arm the conversation.
This is a surprisingly overlooked quality to look for in potential salespeople. Thinking out of the box may be the most important traits a sales team can possess. A sales pitch should never be rigid and uncompromising- it should be a plan built to cater to a customers needs.
Bottom Line: The only thing truly required to be a successful salesman is the ability to quickly analyze a customer’s vision and redesign a sales pitch to accommodate. And that requires creativity and critical thinking, not a 3-piece suit and gregarious smile.
See Part II for more information on building a powerful sales team.