15 Steps to Becoming a Better Salesman or Saleswoman

The best salespeople are always looking to improve their game, never satisfied in their progression as a sales rep. A recent discussion on Quora addressed this very topic, soliciting opinions from sales professionals and sales management experts on what they believed to be the most helpful tips for improving their reps’ selling abilities. Here is a list of what we believe to be the most important steps to take on your journey to becoming a better salesperson.

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1. Be a Critical Thinker

The best salespeople don’t simply rely on a script that dictates every step of how they should sell a product or service, but rather they adapt or alter their sales pitches in accordance with the prospective customer, time and place. This also means having the ability to think outside the box in challenging their existing sales pitches and processes to reach higher levels.

2. Be Disciplined 

A sales rep who has an unrelenting attitude in their sales approach will go above and beyond to do whatever it takes to close the deal. In many cases, learning how to be a better salesman simply boils down to developing a disciplined work ethic.

3. Be Charismatic 

A charismatic person has the ability to form a sense of connection or understanding between themselves and their prospects. Customers view truly charismatic salespeople as not just sales reps hawking a product or service, but someone who they can have a real meaningful conversation with.

4. Be Resourceful

A successful sales rep needs to be resourceful, which is especially important for reaching out and targeting potential customers. This means going above and beyond and using every resource or asset at his or her fingertips to close the deal. Sometimes, figuring out how to be a better salesman requires thinking outside the box of traditional sales methods and processes.

5. Be Focused

Given that sales reps often have a high volume of work and activity goals to reach, they must be able to concentrate on a given task without becoming overwhelmed or distracted. When they’re concentrated on the task or sales call at hand, it will show in the quality of their sales pitch.

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6. Be Competitive 

The most successful sales reps are extremely competitive by nature and are constantly striving to be the top salespeople within their company and the industry. They set the bar as high as possible, giving themselves lofty targets to shoot for – even if they miss their ambitious targets, they will still be well-positioned to achieve great things.

7. Be Passionate

When reps have genuine passion for and belief in their product, it will be readily apparent in their sales pitches. The more passionate a rep is about what they’re selling and who they’re representing, the more genuine the sales conversation will be. If you ask sales veterans how to be a great salesperson, they will all tell you that you have to be passionate about your work.

8. Be Curious

People who are curious and are generally interested in expanding their intellectual horizons tend to gain more knowledge on a regular basis than those who don’t. They are constantly looking to learn more about their product, their customers and how they can bridge the gap between both parties.

9. Be Confident

Confidence is a subset of charisma. The best and most charismatic salespeople believe fervently in themselves, their company and their product or service. Confident salespeople act fearlessly and are willing to take risks without worrying about hearing a “no” from a customer or losing out on a potential opportunity.

10. Be Firm

Salesmen must have a firmness of spirit to get them through high pressure or difficult times. They must also demonstrate this firmness and strong principles when making follow-up calls with both potential customers and prospects who have said no. This is another essential as you learn how to be a great salesperson.

Great Reps

11. Be Persistent

Unfortunately, even the best sales reps will hear “no” over and over again. The key to being a successful salesperson is to always be persistent, even in the face of overwhelmingly negative responses. Sales reps must doggedly chase prospects and be willing to approach them from different angles.

12. Be Open-Minded

A big part of being open-minded is demonstrating a willingness to listen. Most salesmen make the mistake of simply berating prospects with an overwhelming deluge of information. The best sales conversations take place when the rep is doing less talking and more listening, showing an open-mind to whatever problems the prospective customer is suffering from.

13. Be Honest

Sales reps have to be honest about the product or service they’re trying to sell. Feeding potential customers lies or undeliverable promises is not the pathway to success – disingenuous sales reps are what give the profession a bad name in the first place.

14. Be Knowledgeable 

The best sales reps are well-informed, not only about their own company and product but also about the prospective customer’s company and specific pain points. Conducting extensive research into a prospective customer to find triggers before you make your pitch can be the difference between tremendous success and sure-fire failure.

15. Be Communicative

Naturally, one of the most important attributes for any top salesperson is to be an effective communicator. If you aren’t capable of articulating your thoughts in an easily comprehensible manner, even your best sales pitches will ultimately fall on deaf ears. Be clear and concise in what you are communicating.

 

While there are many attributes that go into making up the best sales reps, these are some characteristics that we have found to be the most critical. What do you think are the best practices for anyone who wants to learn how to be a great salesperson?

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Gareth Goh
Gareth Goh
Gareth Goh is the Content Marketing Manager at InsightSquared, where he writes frequently on the blog about Sales and Marketing Management and Analytics. He has a BS in Journalism from Boston University. Follow Gareth on Twitter at @gareth_giggs - https://twitter.com/gareth_giggs.
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