Generally, the buyer “buys” the salesperson and not the product. A buyer’s relationship with a particular salesperson can be so important they will actually change brands if necessary to stay with their favorite salesperson.
Ideally, salespeople are compensated in a way that performers can’t afford to leave and non-performers can’t afford to stay. Consequently, sales jobs can be either the highest paying or the lowest, depending on your performance.
Here are the Top 15 Qualities for sales jobs:
- Social Skills: You now have to talk to your prospect face to face. So brush up on your manners, sincerity, and liberal arts.
- Communication Skills: Drop the crutch words. Do more listening than talking. When you do speak, make it clear and succinct. Listen for what your buyer needs.
- Closing Skills: Ask for the order. Make a compelling case but act like an “assistant buyer” with your prospect’s best interests in mind. Solve their problem.
- Product Knowledge: It’s not enough to outline the features. Your prospect buys the benefits. Convey what makes your offering unique. Educate, don’t pontificate.
- Respect for the Competition: Understand your product and your competitors’.
- Knowledge of the Territory: Familiarize yourself with the geography. Know who the players are and where they operate.
- Flexible Hours: Be ready to work long hours, odd hours, holidays and weekends. Take your vacation when your customers need you the least.
- Buyer Relationships: Your new boss would love to continue the positive relationships with your former customers.
- Knowledge of the Distribution Channels: Understand how your product gets to the buyer and all the idiosyncrasies of the distribution system. Know the roadblocks and gatekeepers all the way to the eventual customer.
- Previous Sales Experience: Ask your former employers – and buyers – to endorse you. If you want to get into sales start early.
- Willingness to Work on Commission: Your bills are due monthly whether or not you make commission. Learn how to budget and save.
- Appearance: Stay healthy, clean, and well groomed. Mirror the dress of your buyers. Your appearance should not detract from your message.
- Organization: Know your priorities, take notes, follow up, keep your schedule flexible. Plan your day and work your plan. And have a Plan B.
- Temperament: Maintain a positive attitude and a thick hide. Don’t take adversity personally. Learn to get along with all types of personalities and cultures.
- Dependability: Show up on time. Deliver what you promise. Get back to folks when you say you will. And when you absolutely can’t, acknowledge it and make it up to them. Integrity is king.
Wow! If you can do all that, you can land a very successful sales job. Congratulations! Now get ready to hire and train some help. And that requires another whole skill set.
Every company and industry has different requirements, but the more of these qualities you possess, the greater your chances at succeeding at that perfect sales job. Good Luck and Good Selling!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders