Selecting Superior Salespeople

Tom Swartz, CGR and owner of J.J. Swartz Co. in Decatur, Ill., knows a thing or two about selling. His third-generation remodeling business has annual sales of $5 million. Swartz offers 10 tips for choosing first-rate salespeople.

June 30, 2000

 

Sales & Marketing Tom Swartz, CGR and owner of J.J. Swartz Co. in Decatur, Ill., knows a thing or two about selling. His third-generation remodeling business has annual sales of $5 million. Swartz lists the 10 traits above as characteristics of first-rate salespeople. Source: Caliper

 

Tom Swartz, CGR and owner of J.J. Swartz Co. in Decatur, Ill., knows a thing or two about selling. His third-generation remodeling business has annual sales of $5 million. Swartz offers 10 tips for choosing first-rate salespeople.

Ego Strength: Don't mistake this trait for arrogance. Strength of ego means having strong, healthy self-esteem and the ability to bounce back from rejection. It is realizing that rejection is part of the game in sales and not becoming immobilized by it.

Urgency: It's pushing sales to completion -- quickly. This urgency stems from competitiveness.

Ego Drive: This incorporates self-esteem and competitiveness. It's the desire to persuade people and close the sale. For ego-driven people, getting the "yes" is the psychological hot button, the thing that makes them feel good. The best salespeople are obsessive about being successful.

Assertiveness: The ability to be firm in negotiations, to lead the sales process and to get your point across confidently is critical for sales success. However, this doesn't mean being overbearing and aggressive -- such stereotypical used-car salesmen traits have negative connotations for good reason: They turn people off.

Risk Taking: Great sales people are willing to innovate, to try something risky. This is even more important now, as new products and services call for new modes of selling. Salespeople can't just be order takers anymore and still be successful.

Sociable: In a profession in which relationship building is key, this trait needs little description. Great salespeople are outgoing, friendly, talkative and interested in their clients for more than just a sale.

Abstract Reasoning: This is the ability to understand concepts and ideas. As selling becomes more complex, it is imperative for today's salespeople to be able to sell potential clients on ideas. Abstract reasoning skills help a salesperson sell something intangible, such as consulting services, as opposed to room additions.

Skepticism: It's true, good salespeople tend to view people with a little bit of suspicion and a little lack of trust. Salespeople are alert, questioning and thorough when it comes to the sales process.

Creativity: Selling new products or services (the intangibles) makes creativity a must-have trait. A creative sales technique is a way to set yourself apart from the competition.

Empathy: This is the ability to place oneself in someone else's shoes. If you are selling someone something, you must be able to sense his or her need -- and meet it with your product, if you can. Source: Caliper

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