Sales: Express genuine interest
A. The qualities and skills of a good salesperson are the same, regardless of the product being sold. There is a traditional misunderstanding about sales. Most people think they can’t do it, and most believe sales involves convincing someone to buy a product or service whether the customer wants it or not. I could not disagree more. A good salesperson understands a customer’s needs and delivers a solution in which both you and the customer are happy. Mind you, it is not always easy.
There are traditional skills that remain important: Ability to listen more than you speak, ability to ask great questions, and great follow-up. We all hear stories of an inexperienced salesperson “throwing up” all over his customer—figuratively, not literally. This behavior typically occurs in the sales process when the salesperson believes he has identified a solution to a problem without qualifying the need or the customer’s desire to purchase. This typically leads to an unpleasant experience for both.
Think back to a pleasant sales experience. What made that experience different than others? I doubt it was the strong close or the ability to execute traditional selling skills. But what differentiated this sale from the others? In my experience, it is someone who takes a genuine interest in the individual. It is not so much about the product or service they have to offer, it is the ability to connect with someone on a personal level. A great salesperson makes people feel special, happy.
The good news regarding this skill is anyone can do it. Regardless of your role in an organization, you can sell your service or abilities by being considerate of others and making it about them and their needs—not you and yours.
Clint Geffert is national vice president of sales for VGM Group, Inc. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.