The line between an average salesperson and a great one is deep. Average sales reps only focus on hitting their quotas – and achieve it only some of the time – while great sales reps don’t just consistently hit their quota, they focus on building lasting relationships along the way.
Great salespeople earn the respect, loyalty, and referrals of their prospects because they skillfully handle objections, address concerns, and foster a relationship worth maintaining.
If you want to be regarded as a great salesperson, keep reading as we outline guidelines that will help you become one of the top-selling salespeople on your team – or even your company!
Characteristics of a Great Salesperson
What are the hallmarks of a great salesperson? What makes them stand out from their peers? Is success measured in quotas-met or relationships-built? What qualities do we look for when dealing with salespeople in general?
They do their due diligence to understand their prospect
A great salesperson clearly defines their buyer persona – the characterization of your best customer(s) based on information about them and how they use your product or service. Sales reps who stick to that persona tend to be more effective at generating sales than those who fall back on mass-solicitation tactics that result in inefficient prospecting.
When a sales rep ensures that their prospect is a good fit - i.e., they are their ideal buyer persona, they know exactly whom they’re selling to and why.
They ask well thought-out questions
A great salesperson asks their prospects questions that will further their conversations - not just yes or no questions. Low-performing reps might be too willing to let intuition guide them resulting in nonanalytical answers that muddy the pipeline.
High-performing reps use a series of questions that is optimized for moving prospects from connect to close. With a curated array of engaging questions, they are able to review key metrics, adjust where necessary, and get those leads down their pipeline.
They’re great listeners
Winning salespeople are completely present when they talk to prospects. They are active listeners. They’re engaged – resulting in conversations with buyers that are deeper and more meaningful than those who spread their focus elsewhere.
Active listening is one of the hardest skills to develop, since it’s human nature to care more about what you have to say than your prospects. But it is entirely necessary. Not only will an active listener build stronger relationships, but they will also unlock information that’ll help position their product as the best option.
They’re personable and friendly
When establishing a professional relationship, a positive first impression is important. A good salesperson is well-put-together, inviting, and motivated to satisfy the needs of their prospect. A salesperson who demonstrates a passion for interpersonal connections will appear more personable and friendly to their prospects.
They’re not “all about business”
A great salesperson is empathetic – connecting with their prospects’ emotions helps them understand what they really want or need from the sale. If you appeal to your prospect's sentiments, you’ll find ways to meet their needs in many ways.
They offer different options to accommodate their prospect
A great salesperson understands that every customer has different needs. Understanding and appealing to their pain points can help you create a deal that emphasizes value.
A high-performance salesperson avoids the one-size-fits-all mentality and opts for curating their approach based on information they have learned from their prospect. Tailoring your messaging to your customer’s needs will allow you to demonstrate how your product is the best fit for them.
They maintain strong relationships with the customer after the sale
Many salespeople fail to effectively follow up after sending a proposal or closing a sale. If you have spent the time fostering a meaningful business relationship, it should not end at the signing of a contract. Great salespeople maintain their relationships with existing customers – seeking feedback, providing tactical suggestions, and requesting referrals.
Good sales reps always ask for a referral and quickly follow up with those leads. Even better reps inquire about their customers’ successes to determine what strategies work, drive customer advocacy, and deepen their client relationships.
They know when to walk away
You won’t win every deal - that’s part of being in sales. Great salespeople know when they have spent too much time chasing a prospect and it is time to walk away. It can be hard to “give up” on someone you have dedicated so much time to; however, great salespeople take that time spent as learning opportunities. Consider how you can improve – what did you do well and what could you do better?
Great salespeople know how to move on easily from rejection.
A good salesperson has more to offer customers than an exciting pitch – they're enthusiastic individuals with resilience and they take the time to get to know their customers’ needs, show empathy, and deal in a product with confidence. They also know how to handle rejection and learn from both their most successful deals and ones lost.