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It’s one of the questions I’m asked the most.

Good salespeople are one of the greatest assets to any business, but what is about them that makes them stand out from the crowd?

There’s a common misconception that sales people are good at talking, that they have the gift of the gab!

But the truth is, the talkers are often some of the worst sales people. They DO have to be articulate and persuasive, but on its own, that won’t guarantee success.

So what does a good salesperson look like?

To be honest that depends on your business. Someone who excels at selling building materials to builders would probably struggle to sell enterprise level software systems, not because of a lack of product knowledge …. that can be learned, but because they need different skill sets.

Different sectors require different skills and at different levels. The products are totally different, and so are the markets they’re aimed at.

So to work out what type of individual would make a good salesperson for your business, the starting point is to consider the demographics of your particular market. Do you sell to healthcare professionals, lawyers or consultants; or are you selling to the public sector or even consumers?

Start by profiling your ideal target customers as accurately as you can, think about what type of people they are, what sort of experience do they usually have, where do they sit in the business hierarchy, what issues are they facing and so on.

Once you truly understand your target market you’re far better placed to define the characteristics, skills and abilities you need in the salesperson who’s most likely to be successful for you.

Alongside that, there are some more generic characteristics that I always look for in sales people. I’d suggest looking for the following:

Honest/trustworthy – your ongoing reputation hangs on the way they operate.
Likeable – people buy from people and most sales start with relationship building.
Articulate – they need to be able to speak the same language as your target market.
Accomplished listening skills – really good sales people need to excel at listening.
Persuasive – but not pushy.
Organised – You’ll need them to be able to manage an ever growing pipeline of opportunities and not let any of them slip.
Strong work ethic – the best sales people know that they need to make the hard yards.
Enthusiastic, motivated and resilient – selling can be tough and if you can’t keep going when the going gets rough, you’ll never succeed.
The right personality/ education/ experience to fit your target market – good sales people understand their target market and can talk knowledgeably about it.
The right fit for the culture of your organisation – skills can be learned, but cultural fit is harder to develop if your team doesn’t share your own values.

I’ve been working with a number of clients recently, helping them develop their particular sales strategy and hiring requirements. If this is something you’re struggling with, then let’s have an exploratory call.

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