So if you wonder what turns a salesperson into a sales champion, it comes down to taking the most important attributes of sales people, and mastering them all. Let's take a look at 5 of those essential traits for becoming a true sales champion.
The beginning of any good relationship requires an equally good conversation. But even for that to happen, the secret to saying the right things lies in mastering the art of active listening. A successful salesperson knows how to create opportunities to listen and understand important details about their customers and their business objectives. Part of creating this listening opportunity has to do with asking open-ended questions where customers can reveal key aspects of their goals or problems. Also, a sales champion knows how to conduct research prior to engaging with a customer, allowing the salesperson to ask more intelligent questions that will impress and create a great first impression.
Once you start building good rapport with your client, it’s crucial to look for how you can position yourself as an invaluable asset. Your customers get countless sales pitches every single day, but your mission is to be more accurate, more compelling and more human than your competition. Your prospects invests valuable time in talking to you, so don’t blow it with generic pitches or obvious self-interest.
Instead, shift your mindset to become truly invested in your prospects’ needs and how you can help them find the most profitable solutions. By doing so, you establish a stronger relationship with your client and demonstrate a genuine sense of care. If you are in the B2B space, you know that sales cycles can be long, so investing your energy on growing trust certainly does pay off. Ultimately, champions become invaluable resources because they learn to really care, and prospects can sense that.
Once you’ve earned your customer’s time and interest, you have also won the right to be truly heard. By that point, you must have learned quite a bit about your customers and their business. To accurately solve problems, sales champions tackle problems from the outside in: “what,” “how” and “why.” In Sandler terms, start by getting tactical and detect the technical pain. Then, uncover the business impact of this problem to ultimately understand how the specific person you are dealing with is connected to this problem. Here is when sales champions make themselves evident, since not every salesperson is able to successfully uncover the “why” behind a problem.
Moreover, a sales champion constantly demonstrates resourcefulness and high creativity. Think critically -- if a solution seems far too obvious -- because chances are there could be something you might be overlooking. Andrew Gothelf wrote a post on how Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary implemented a cloud computing solution for its animals, becoming one of my favorite examples of outside-the-box thinking and creativity.
As a salesperson, you have two main commitments with every sales cycle. One would be to your clients, after making the conscious decision of caring about tailoring your offerings to help them meet their goals. On the other hand, there’s also an internal commitment to the company you represent. This is why setting the right expectations, both internally and externally, will determine what you are committing to as the sales process moves along.
Sales champions know how to be realistic, upfront and diligent when meeting timelines and other expectations. In addition, an authentic champion understands the importance of bringing a plan to life, that is, to deliver and implement a solution after the customer has accepted your vision. And don’t forget: a champion follows through even after the deal is won!
To deliver a compelling story, you must first believe in it yourself. Once you determine the story you wish to tell, find great content with numbers and other customer stories you can leverage for adding strength to your message. But content isn’t everything when presenting. Sales champions see this stage as a new opportunity to apply their listening skills as they also get their audience involved with specific questions. By this point, questions shouldn’t be as open-ended since you need to demonstrate what you’ve learned, and how your solution aligns with the different factors in your customer’s business.
Mastering the insights of your offerings is essential at this point, and champions recognize the most effective methods to connect a product with their customer’s pains. If you are able to spot your weakness, you need to anticipate any potential objections.