Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What makes someone successful as a sales consultant?

In a few weeks, I’ll head up to Rochester NY to my company’s headquarters to speak to a class of newly hired sales consultants for a few days. I’ve been thinking a little about what makes a successful sales representative, so here goes:

I’ve been in business to business sales for over 10 years and if there’s one thing I’ve learned – it’s that when people succeed at sales they always posses these few key traits:

  1. Personality
  2. Desire to win
  3. Money motivated

Lets start with personality. This seems pretty obvious, but for some reason boring-ass people keep getting sales jobs! When I interviewed sales candidates, I rarely read their resume before the interview. I wanted to see what it was like sit across from a total stranger and have a conversation with them. How comfortable are they small talking? Segwaying from the weather to the job interview? Did they keep me interested? In retrospect, about 70% of their “grade” came from this 10-15 minute introduction period. Yes, that important.

Action item: Be energetic, have something topical to say, ask really good questions, then ask follow-up questions. Move naturally to the next topic.

Desire to win. This is a very multifaceted trait that refers to a competitive person, someone who has the innate drive to find a way to get it done, to be a leader, to be a “go to” person, to be a resource, to be THE best.

Action item: Seek-out and implement strategies of proven success. Challenge yourself after every sale “could I have been better?” and after every no sale “what will I do different next time?”

Money Motivated. What is the job of a sales rep? To separate a prospect from his money in return for a product or service. In the absence of value, all purchase decisions revert to cost. The money motivated sales consultant will find a way to eloquently and cheerfully convey to you that the benefit of their service FAR outweighs the cost for one reason: to separate you from your money. And, when you buy – you’ll write that check with a smile.

Action item: Find the “pain” and help them to feel it now, then clearly explain point for point, how your solution takes away that pain for the investment of $$$$$.

Lastly, for those of you who don’t like us sales reps, remember this fact: Nothing happens until something is sold.