To become a great salesperson, you don’t need to be so knowledgeable about your product that you can answer every possible question about it. You don’t have to be the most gifted talker either. In fact, to become a great salesperson, you must do something counterintuitive.
You cannot be a salesperson. Now, before I get into the traits for what makes a salesperson successful, let’s first turn the conventional idea of a salesperson upside down. Why should a salesperson not be a salesperson?
Here’s one of the most important lessons that I learned. To be accomplished at sales, we need to challenge conventional ideas about what a salesperson is.
The Disrespected High Income Skill
Imagine this scenario. Your child comes up to you and declares, “Hey Daddy/Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a doctor.” And immediately you feel a surge of pride as you answer, “Son/Daughter, I’m so proud of you. I raised you well!”
Now imagine a different scenario. Your child says, “Daddy/Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a salesperson.” Your heart drops as you reply, “Is this how I raised you?” And you wonder, How did I fail you as a parent? How can I change your mind?
Why is your reaction so different in each scenario? It’s the way we’re conditioned to think about salespeople. Many unpleasant scenarios come to mind. The annoying telemarketers who persistently call about something you don’t want. The aggressive, pushy salesperson in the mall that keeps asking you to try a sample when you just want to be left alone.
They manipulate you, deceive you, so they can make a sale and get their commission.The memories, the associations, make you want to take a shower and be rid of the experience.
But think about it. Is it perfectly okay to get a student loan, spend six to eight years in medical school, sink into debt, and then work in a stressful profession? Don’t get me wrong; I’ve got a deep respect for doctors and our society needs them.
But society’s opinion about salespeople is undeservingly negative. Sales as a profession is frowned upon, considered not a “real” job or “real” career. Salespeople can train and hone their skills in a matter of months, depending on their mindset, determination, and sales ability, without drowning in years of debt… and make a six figure income… or more.
In fact, some of the highest paid people in our society are salespeople. And they are famous.
A Different Perspective On Salespeople
Warren Buffet, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are all salespeople. They are all talented at closing people.
When Elon Musk is announcing the latest Tesla model, he’s closing potential buyers on getting a new car. When Warren Buffet, at the shareholder meeting, talks about what they’re going to do, the latest report, and their earnings… he’s selling people to invest in their stock.
Even the product announcement that Steve Jobs gave about iPhone or the iPod – when thousands and thousands of people watched live and worldwide – they were watching a sales presentation. He was closing them on buying the latest products.
The world’s youngest billionaire, Kylie Jenner, is also a salesperson. Her celebrity influence has a role in closing people on her cosmetics and accessories.
To be as successful in sales as these famous people, we need to question our beliefs in conventional wisdom.
Watch this video about how to become a great salesperson.
Beliefs To Challenge and Change
If they want to eliminate negative associations with the word “salespeople”, then salespeople shouldn’t follow conventional wisdom. Being a great salesperson isn’t about the qualities that people usually associate with the profession.
Here are some well-known sales practices to challenge and change:
Have enthusiasm and be excited about the product you’re selling because if you’re not enthusiastic about your product or service, then the prospect won’t be enthusiastic either. For example, a salesperson typically says, “This product is very good. Our company is the best in the world, so this product will help you and your company. You really should buy from me.”
- Do some pretentious bonding. For example, when the salesperson asks, “Hey, how are your kids? How’s work? How is your job going?” It’s called pretentious bonding because the salesperson doesn’t actually care to hear the answers and the prospect isn’t really interested in the conversation.
- Follow up with a lead/prospect 5, 10 or even 20 times. Salespeople need to be persistent and keep calling or chasing prospects because if they don’t eventually buy from you, the lead will die. So a good salesperson follows up and doesn’t give up. A lead is someone they pursue until the lead makes a purchase.
- Salespeople must also ask for the sale two or three times. They know that the average prospect needs to be asked seven times before they will buy. So they persistently ask for the sale, knowing that it’s good practice not to give up easily. There is no such thing as being annoying. They are simply following good sales practice.
- Chase the prospect. This is part of the following up and asking for the sale. Salespeople work on building a relationship with the prospect, continuously trying to please them until the prospect gives in and finally makes the purchase.
Here’s the problem with all these conventional methods. People don’t like to be chased. They don’t like to be pestered. They don’t want a professional relationship with a salesperson who constantly tries to be friendly and social with them because they want to close a deal. It’s these very practices that have given sales the ugly reputation that it has.
As a closer, a salesperson, I don’t like to beg someone to buy from me. I also don’t like to chase. Rather, I like to be the chase.
My prospects book a call with me because they want to know more about my offer and they are interested in buying. Now, you might be asking, how do I get my prospects to chase me?
Here is the method I use: I don’t sound, act or talk like a typical salesman.
A Great Salesperson Solves Problems
A sales professional doesn’t sound like your typical, sleazy salesperson. They don’t inject exaggerated cheerfulness into their tone when they answer the phone with, “Hey, how are you sir?”
They sound calm and neutral, with a tone of voice like a doctor diagnosing your situation.
Just imagine a visit to your doctor, and your doctor says to you, “So glad you could come in to see me today. How are you feeling? You have a fever? Don’t worry. I can write you a prescription, and you’re in luck. Today we have a special: buy one and get one free. It’s some great medication, and if you don’t buy today, I can follow up with you in a few days.”
No matter how sick you’re feeling, you would probably run out of that office in a hurry. That’s not how a doctor behaves and that’s not how a professional salesperson acts either.
A great salesperson is calm and neutral. They act like a problem solver, just like a doctor, and they ask questions until they can diagnose your needs.
They ask questions such as, “Tell me a little about your situation. Tell me about your business. What were you hoping to get from me today?” They want to know more about why you’re interested in their offer so they can decide if their offer will solve your problem. Just like a doctor that won’t give you a prescription that you don’t need, a good salesperson won’t sell you something that isn’t a good fit.
They behave and talk like a professional, speaking with a tonality that has conviction and authority. Most importantly, they are not attached to the sale.
Sales professionals are not desperate to make a commission at the cost of customer satisfaction. When the prospect senses that the salesperson is not attached to the outcome, then they open up. They feel that the salesperson genuinely wants to help them, and they’re not just going after a commission or a sales quota.
That’s how a professional salesperson, a closer, gets what they want in life. First, they help others to get what they want by solving their problems. Second, they pursue their own income goals. It is that simple.
Final Thoughts On How To Become A Great Salesperson
If you want to become a great salesperson, understand that it’s not about pushing your product on your prospect. It’s also not about using conventional methods to follow up or chase a prospect.
To be a great sales professional, don’t act or talk like a typical salesperson. You want to have the calmness and neutrality of a doctor as you ask your prospect questions and find out their needs. You don’t chase the prospect – you want to be the chase.
When your prospect can see that you’re genuinely interested in helping them, not selling them, they will respond differently to you. This approach is how you become a successful, highly paid salesperson.
Are you looking to double your close rates for sales? Click on this link to book a call with one of my closers to find out how you can increase your close rates.