Congratulations! You have just been hired for a career in sales, the opportunity of a lifetime, offering you a chance to write your own ticket, to determine your own income and level of success. Generally speaking, there is no glass ceiling, no limit to what you can achieve. Chances are pretty good that you were hired due in large measure to your particular personality traits. Let’s take a look at personality traits common to successful candidates hired for sales positions in every industry and service arena.
Are you personable, comfortable in most social settings, eager to meet new people, to engage in discussion of subjects new to you? Do you have an ability to strike up conversation with those you’ve never met before? True sales professionals recognize that everyone they encounter on a day-to-day basis is a person who may potentially need their product or service, or know someone who does. They feel comfortable talking to people anywhere and everywhere.
Do you consider yourself to be ambitious, accustomed to setting goals and then creating and executing a plan for achieving them? For some, “ambition” is a dirty word, because they equate the word with greed, or avarice, but truly, ambition under control is a great strength for sales professionals. As long as the ambition is tempered by a person’s hunger to serve others first, it normally does not present a problem.
Are you confident, making everyone feel comfortable with your ability to make things happen, to get things done? Can you continue to project that confidence in spite of the sometimes closed-minded people that you encounter as you look for the right people for your products and services? Do you accept “no” as par for the course, and not as a personal rejection, realizing that every sales professional will have to hear “no” over and over, in order to get to “yes”?
Do others describe you as passionate, throwing yourself fully into everything you attempt? Sales is simply a transfer of enthusiasm. Ralph Waldo Emerson may have said it best:
ENTHUSIASM is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Would you say that you are independent, enjoying autonomy, and not reliant on another’s authority or direction to make your way in the world? Do you like to explore the areas you need to improve in, and then find the resources (whether books, videos, articles, or mentors) to help you make those improvements? Do you invest time and money in yourself to become a better ___________ (fill in the blank)?
Have you consistently been described as hard-workers by former associates, work team partners, and supervisors? According to popular football coach Vince Lombardi, “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.” That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
Are you disciplined, able to self-direct, daily attending to the important tasks that will move you closer to your goals, rather than getting caught up in the “urgent,” the things that seem to need your immediate attention, even though they are not critical steps towards achieving your goals? Discipline makes it easier to be “your own boss” because you don’t need anyone standing over your shoulder, breathing down your neck in order for you to get to work. You are self-motivated.
Have you decided to always remain positive, regardless of what is going on around you? We each choose to be either a thermometer or a thermostat, depending on our decision to allow outside influences to affect us, or to directly impact our environment, like a thermostat. Positive people are thermostats, setting the tone for the environment around them.
Are you persuasive without being overbearing? Are you able to focus on the needs of your prospect, so that they can convince themselves of their need for your product? You may be aware of a particular idiosyncrasy common in persons approached as “prospects” for a sale of any kind. We may think that everything the salesman says, it’s to make us buy whatever is being offered. On the other hand, everything that we say is 100% true (at least in our own mind). So asking the right questions can make your job much more relaxed, because your prospect will sell herself.
Every day in the sales profession brings a wide variety of people and situations; anything can happen, and you are often thrown curve balls. Are you adaptable, meeting each person and situation in the best way so that they can relax, and fairly quickly learn to like you and trust you? Prospects buy from people that they like and trust, so this is a vital skill for the aspiring sales champion. If your appointment doesn’t show, do you let it blow your whole day, or do you quickly adapt, by finding someone else to talk to about your product? Who is in the next home or office? Go find out – they might be the one you were actually looking for, without even knowing it!
So there they are… 10 personality characteristics of successful sales professionals. You likely possess at least six or seven of these characteristics, if not all ten! If that’s true, you already have some great advantages which will help you to be a highly effective sales professional. And if “sales professional” is not your official job title, you will still benefit from having or developing these personality traits, because we are all in sales, whether we are teachers, administrators, first responders, medical professionals, managers, wait staff, crossing guards, or parents, because we are all in position at some point, to influence the behavior of others. Embrace the power of your personality!
There is a curious phenomenon that occurs fairly often, however. Some newly minted sales professionals, as they go through their training, seem to be rehearsing for a theatrical performance as they engage in their first approaches and presentations in front of live, possibly qualified prospects for their products. It could be that they are nervous, afraid to forget what they are supposed to say, or that they will say something wrong. Another possibility is that they are comparing themselves to another sales professional, and they are trying to be like that other person. There is no need for this comparison, because you do have “the right stuff”; be confident in who you are, and in the gifts and strengths that you’ve been given. In other words, BE YOURSELF!
Important points to remember: One, your prospect, affectionately known as Mrs. Jones, has NO IDEA what you are supposed to say. So if you don’t get it quite right, unless you give yourself away, she will never know that you messed up! Two, you can’t say the wrong thing to the right person. There are buyers out there for every product and service, and it’s just a matter of talking to as many people as you can, every single day that you choose to work, so that you can find them.
A wise friend used an analogy that put it all into perspective. He said, “It’s like God has hidden all these Easter eggs out there for you, and all you have to do is find them.” It’s true. The buyers are out there, but if you don’t go talk to the people, you will never know which ones need and want your product or service. They might be holding one of your Easter eggs. So go find them. You have the personality that makes for a good sales professional. Be yourself – that’s who they hired. Trying to be someone else is far too exhausting, and it’s no fun at all. Sales can be an invigorating and fun adventure. Are you ready?