Have you ever wondered, “Is sales for me?” Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “What does it take to succeed in sales?” Many young professionals want to drive a nice car, make big commissions, represent a really cool product, and achieve a fun work-life balance (all of which are very possible)! However, they don’t quite know how to get there. If you’re hoping to break into a rewarding sales career, you’ve probably looked inward to inspect your skills, and wondered if you have the right stuff. These three core values are a great place to start:
Do you read in your free time? Watch documentaries? Want to learn the ins and outs of the most random topics? Salespeople are not only encouraged, but also required to be curious. GrowthX founder Sean Sheppard laid out the four steps of the sales process, and claimed that the first stage, Recognition of Needs, is where the top salespeople spend a whopping 80% of their time.
Secret: Sales is not about closing. Rather, closing is merely the result of something else entirely. It’s about the approach you take to selling. Most salespeople enter the conversation as if they are marching into battle. The better approach is to enter the sales conversation as if you exploring a new land.
It’s not just about asking questions; it’s about being a questioner. It’s about really wanting to know, solely for the sake of understanding, what makes your customers tick, and how their lives and businesses operate. It’s about seeking to understand more than seeking to persuade. It’s about not being afraid to lose the sale if it means that you can gain an insight. Be a person first, salesperson second.
Emotional intelligence is one of the most popular topics in the workplace today. It’s the ability to recognize your own and other people's emotions. If you are emotionally intelligent, you can discern and label your own feelings, you can guide your thinking and behavior, and you can manage and adapt to environments to achieve your goal. Dr. Travis Bradberry’s Emotional Intelligence 2.0 has caused “EI” to become a must for anyone working with people. Some experts even go as far as to say it has replaced IQ as the most important aspect to job candidates, especially for those who work on teams.
People skills are essential in sales. Why? Because customers buy from people they like. I always saw myself as a good communicator, and knew it would serve me well in sales, but it wasn’t until I discovered emotional intelligence that I realized I wasn’t really listening. I was doing a lot of talking at people rather than listening and connecting with them. Are you able to understand when someone is having a bad day? Can you determine the DISC profile of those you interact with, and adjust your communication to what suits them? Try to listen more than you talk. Use emotional intelligence to truly understand where the person you are speaking with is coming from.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey
Have you always had a will to win? After a competition, do you find yourself replaying what occurred and thinking what you could have done better? No surprise here, but in sales, the right mindset is key. You could say that business is the ultimate sport, and I think what’s most important is being accountable for your performance.
Sales managers like people who believe they are the owners of their own destiny. They like people who are coachable, who own up to what they did well, and things they could do better. Top performers see rejection as a chance to improve. They aren’t afraid to fail. They know the first step to winning is doing it, taking feedback, and improving for next time.
People who are accountable succeed in sales because they know they can always improve, and have accepted that learning is a continuous process. Over time they naturally build up an impressive set of skills and know-how.
So, while these three values aren’t everything a young sales person needs to succeed, they present a great opportunity to start integrating them in your daily work.