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What makes a great salesman?



A Sales Manager might say the answer to this is simple; sales! That's true, but what qualities and characteristics does a sales man or woman need to achieve this?

Many people believe that Purchasing Managers buy people first and products second therefore, it's important to have a lively and warm personality with ability to charm the birds off the trees. It' said that a top salesman can sell ice to the Eskimos!

The successful salesperson will have good body language; a firm handshake, good eye-contact and a natural awareness of personal space. They may also use mirroring and NLP to good effect.

They will have a set of ice-breakers to build rapport, which although rehearsed, will appear spontaneous. However, they can still improvise and adapt to different circumstances. They will encourage the buyer to disclose their own needs and requirements before going in with a sales pitch. However, they will have thorough product knowledge and be able to explain features and benefits.

Now, down to business! The customer is sure to have some objections but many seasoned salesmen welcome these interpreting it as a buying signal. They view it that it is a coded way of saying, 'OK, if you can remove this problem for me,' then, I'll buy.' They can skilfully handle objections and move the conversation, towards a close.

When it comes to closing the successful salesman will have a range of closing techniques such as the assumed close - 'Will a Friday delivery be OK?' or, the alternative close -  'So do you prefer to have a red or blue one?'

Really successful salespeople recognise that selling is a continuous process and that it's important to build a long term relationship in order to fully realise the lifetime value of a customer. They make after sales calls, stay in regular contact and keep the customer updated on new product developments.

They are always thinking about the next sale because they are target driven, competitive, motivated by money but of course, very likable. All of these factors combined give them a high conversion rate and good bonus too!

Glossary

  • Characteristics - Personal attributes and features
  • Purchasing Manager - Person with responsibility for buying
  • Charm the birds off the trees - Idiom meaning very charming
  • Sell ice to the Eskimos (idiom describing somebody who could sell anything
  • Firm handshake - A handshake that is not weak but not too strong
  • Personal space - The physical distance between people and their level of comfort with it
  • Mirroring - Reflecting somebody's body language which will be noticed and appreciated sub-consciously
  • NLP - Neuro-linguistic programming, a branch of behavioural science
  • Ice-breakers - Non threatening statements and opening questions
  • Build rapport - Creating connection and trust
  • Rehearsed - Practiced
  • Disclose - Give information away
  • Sales pitch - A presentation or argument in favour of buying a product or service
  • Product knowledge - The knowledge that the salesman has about the company's products and services
  • Features - The qualities that a product or service possesses
  • Objections - Stated reasons not to buy
  • Seasoned - Experienced
  • Buying signal - A subtle sign through body language or statement of a desire to buy
  • Coded - Not obvious, disguised in language
  • Handle objections - Deal with and remove objections
  • Close - The concluding part of a sales negotiation where the salesman attempts to get a sale
  • Assumed close - A selling technique using the assumption that the client wishes to buy
  • Alternative close - A selling technique offering purchase alternatives to the customer
  • Continuous process - Something that goes on all the time
  • Build a long term relationship - Develop an ongoing relation with a client
  • Lifetime value of a customer - The total sales value of a customer throughout the lifetime of their relationship with your company
  • After sales calls - Calls made after a sale to confirm satisfaction and gain customer feedback, also part of the ongoing sales process
  • New product developments - New lines, product modifications and upgrades, etc.
  • Target driven - Motivated by targets
  • Conversion rate - The ratio of sales calls to sales

 

George Sandford  - Learning Associate, ACT Advanced Corporate Training

George Sandford is an author, HR Advisor and Learning Designer. A Post Grad. Dip. IPD, he has extensive experience in HR, consultancy and management training with corporate and government bodies. He has lived and worked in the UK, France, Portugal and Poland. Since creating the International Lisbon Learning Conference, he has focused on the development of visual, metaphoric and narrative learning materials and is the founder of Praski Publishing. He co-operates with ACT in the design and delivery of language and specialist courses.








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