When you think of a "salesperson", what is the association that springs to mind? Perhaps frustration, thinking of that annoyingly persistent individual at a shop, harassing you to add more products and services to your shopping basket? Maybe it's someone calling round at an inconvenient time to solicit window cleaning? These are better known as "transactional salespeople" and are the opposite of what a good business-to-business salesperson does.
bta wanted to investigate what the common perceptions of business to business sales professionals were. Using qualitative market research, bta asked a selection of different target markets, including Sales Directors, the general public and sales professionals themselves. The intention was to get a feel for what traits these groups found desirable from sales men and women. Below are the most desirable traits each segment stated:
Sales Directors want sales professionals to work hard. Most people want success; however they seem to fall down as they simply aren’t prepared to put the hard work in to achieve it. Sales superstars are proactive, they hunt new business. They usually start work earlier than their colleagues and stay later than everyone else. They make more calls, prospect more consistently and talk to more people.
The general public would like sales people to listen more. The majority of sales people ask a question then continue and either give the customer the answer or continue talking, as opposed to waiting for their response. Good sales people know that customers will tell them everything they need to know if they are given enough time and the opportunity. They will ask a question and listen carefully to the response, taking notes and summarising the customers' comments. Critically, good sales people learn that silence is golden.
Sales professionals demonstrate passion. They exude their love for the product or service and the company with pride. The greater the passion you demonstrate about your career, the greater the chance you will become successful. If you have the ability to show your enthusiasm and bring personality into your work, this will provide you with ultimate success. If you aren’t genuinely excited about the product or service you sell, consider making a change. You are not doing yourself, your company or your customers any justice by continuing to represent something in which you lack passion.
From this research, the team at bta has learned that the perception of a successful sales professional can vary significantly, depending of course, on which side of the desk you sit.
The critical thing the bta research has revealed is that sales professionals have to be able to adapt to a range of different situations and truly understand that the customer’s requirements are king. If a sales professional can achieve this, they are half way there. Twin this with demonstrating a desire and passion for what you selling and you surely have the making of a successful sales professional.