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These three strengths are common among great sales professionals

People often want to know if great sales professionals are born or made. I think it can be a little of both. Some folks just naturally come by being great at sales, just like there are people who are naturally good at teaching or performing surgery.

To me it’s not really important if you were born with a natural ability to persuade. Sales is a skill, and skills can be learned. If you are starting your sales career, there are a few skills you will want to develop that will help you find success no matter what you are selling.

The three strengths of a great salesperson

The three strengths of a great salesperson can be developed by anyone willing to put in the work. None of them have anything to do with “the gift of gab” or being naturally extroverted.

Be an active listener

As I said, the gift of gab has nothing to do with being a great salesperson. In fact, I would argue being the type of person who loves to hear himself talk could be a detriment to your success in sales.

The best sales professionals are great active listeners. I’ve written before about the need to be an O.C.D Listener. 

  • Observant listener: focus on the speaker and eliminate any distractions around you.
  • Compassionate listener: using verbal and nonverbal cues, demonstrate back to your prospect that you’re listening and comprehending what they’re saying. 
  • Dynamic listener: pay attention to the flow of the conversation, understand what is being said, how it’s being said, and note what hasn’t been said yet.

These three components all add up to being an active listener. When your prospect is talking, you can learn so much. The more they talk, the closer you get to understanding their needs.

Be able to overcome adversity

Times are tough. I probably do not even need to say this when we are heading into our third Covid summer. It’s not the first time we have experienced adversity in our lifetimes, and it’s unlikely to be the last.

The point is not for me to be a downer. Instead, my point is that you need to learn how to overcome adversity. Even when we are in between crises, prospects will say no. In fact, you will hear no more often than you hear yes. That is true for even the most skilled sales professionals.

To be able to overcome adversity, you have to learn how to move forward when you hear no. Keeping a full pipeline helps. So does anticipating and embracing objections as a learning opportunity. If you have a repeatable sales process, you’ll start to identify where you hear objections most often, and you can evaluate your process and identify how to improve it in the future.

But it’s also extremely important to remain positive. Keep your energy positive. Plan for adversity and objections because they are inevitable. And when you are hearing no far more often than you’d like, find help with from a sales coach.

Be a product and industry expert

Confidence is obviously an important skill for anyone to have. Not all of us come by it naturally, so you need ways to bolster it.

One sure way to be confident in your strengths as a salesperson is to make sure you know everything there is to know about your products and the industry you exist in.

Having deep product and industry knowledge allows you to handle any objection that comes up. Having an understanding of the industry means you can anticipate and prepare for the prospect’s needs.

When you can do this, you feel confident in yourself and your prospect feels confident in you.  

Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list. And other experts may give you other opinions of what it takes to be a great salesperson. There will be more that you develop over time, but these three are foundational to having a long, lucrative, and rewarding sales career.

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