Commercial management and sales is an essential area within a company. The profitability and survival of the company, success or failure, depend on the volume of sales. As professionals in the commercial field, it is very useful to use market research techniques to know the customer and design strategies to capture their attention and establish lasting relationships that add value. After all, every entrepreneur is really a salesperson, so we better be a good one, because that’s what the income of our initiative will depend on. Jorge Zuñiga Blanco, an entrepreneur and seasoned sales veteran from Costa Rica, offers the main qualities of the good seller, and how to apply this list to a daily practice.
Oddly enough, the qualities of a good salesperson should not begin with having the ability to speak or convince, but by developing the ability to listen. And not just any listening, but an active listening. “The biggest mistake of many salespeople is that they have their speech and want to let go of it and that, when the customer is talking, it is just a pause in which they expect to say what they have prepared, no matter what the other says,” explains Zuñiga.
A good salesperson knows how the other feels and puts himself in his place. He knows he’s selling a solution to a problem and puts himself in the customer’s shoes. That allows you an intimate knowledge of what the other is thinking, of how the product solves those problems. In addition, empathy will allow us to anticipate what the client wants and the possible objections they will put, so that you can deactivate them in advance. But the most important thing is that empathy is not an empty word. The key to persuading or selling (the same is) is to make the other feel like the most important person in the world.
Selling is an emotional process and emotions are contagious, transmitted and detected through non-verbal language. The main question is this, How are we going to want the customer to get excited about the product if we are not? One of the best salespeople in the world, Billy Mays, had it very clear. He never sold a product that he didn’t use himself. Because that way, he wasn’t a salesman trying to endorse something; he was a fan who wanted others to get as much value as he did. It’s impossible to be motivated to sell something that you’re not really excited about. And trying to fake it is worse.
There are two communications that occur all the time, the verbal and the non-verbal. Both must communicate the same thing and, in case they collide, people are programmed to rely more on non-verbal. Body or nonverbal language was what didn’t fit with the words. And we are experts in reading it because, for thousands and thousands of years, we evolved to do so, since we had not yet developed spoken language. Therefore, every salesperson must master non-verbal language. It has to be relaxed, open and coherent with the discourse.
Self-confidence is another quality of a good seller. Like it or not, studies show, and reality corroborates, that trust convinces and sells. One example is Donald Trump. Like many other politicians in a new batch, he talks about things he doesn’t know, but he does so with such confidence that it is contagious to many. “Trust can hide mediocrity as in the case of politics, but when it is true, it is unstoppable,” states Zuñiga.
Rigid speeches don’t work, and no matter how much we prepare scripts and possible objections, customers are always going to leave where we don’t expect. For many, that is a challenge. Others are frozen by the fact that the script goes off the rails and what they have rehearsed in their head. There is no doubt who is the best seller in those two cases and Darwin has already made it very clear, the world (and sales) are the one who best suits.
This quality of a good salesperson is also very important because many leave it up to the customer to move forward with the sale. They settle when those customers tell them, “I’m calling you,” for example. And the customer doesn’t call and it’s normal. It is not the function of the client to take the ball to the goal. It is ours as sellers and, therefore, we must take the initiative. We must advance the sale, worry, call. Without initiative, most sales are going to slip through our hands.
It isn’t necessary to have every quality of a good salesperson perfected to the fullest; that’s impossible. But these traits clearly identify the skills that that will lead to more sales. The same can be applied to our salespeople if we are responsible for a team of salespeople.