Chances are we’ve all had a sales experience that has left us feeling used and abused. You know…that stereotypical pushy used car salesman that “gets you the deal of a lifetime” but is absolutely no help when you return a few days later needing service on the lemon he just sold you.
Or how about the copy machine salesman more interested in buying you lunch and telling you about all the features of the X3000 document center than listening to you tell him all you really want is something that doesn’t jam three times per hour.
There are countless other examples, but the common theme is most of us want a solutions provider, not just a salesperson. But what separates the good sales people (the solution providers) from the bottom dwellers?
Here are 10 things to look for in a good salesperson:
1. Do they do twice as much listening as they do talking? How will they help solve the problem if they jump straight to the solution? After all, most of us had to read the book before we aced the test.
2. Are they hands-on? One of our company’s most successful salesmen used to carry tools and an Elvis-style set of coveralls in his trunk, so he was always prepared to help his customers.
3. Are they responsive? In today’s world of smart phones and iPads, we are all reachable all the time. A response should be almost immediate if they are truly the cream of the crop. The best ones will call or email just to tell you they are working on your request.
4. Do they know what they are talking about? There is no excuse for inaccurate information. After all, they are the expert, right? A good sales person will say “he or she must get back with us” when they don’t immediately know the answer to a question.
5. How organized are they? Disorganized people and projects fail. It’s that simple.
6. What’s their level of engagement? Do they show a strong interest in your company and the problem you are trying to solve? The best sales people want to see you and your company succeed, and they will take an active interest in ensuring that happens. If I’m meeting a new client, I want to fully understand the company and the problem, so I can provide the best material handling solution.
7. How often do they call on you? I hate the sales reps that call me only after learning our company is working on a large project. These are cannibals, not partners.
8. Do they seek input from operators? Our most successful people understand that our projects are only as successful as the operators reporting to management. I go back to the copy machine salesman example. Do you think the operators care if the X3000 can print in vibrant shades of every color? I would imagine they’d really be happy with a copy machine that doesn’t jam three times an hour.
9. How’s their follow-up? Do they ask the simple, but for some reason, very difficult question–what could we have done better?
10. Are they trustworthy and fair? I don’t know about you, but a lot of times I’ll consider paying a little more if I feel I’m getting dealt straight.
The reality is there are a lot of bad, pushy sales people out there, but not all of them are that way. We do our best to be solutions providers by truly listening to our customers’ problems and working hard to help them succeed.
So what do you think makes a great salesperson?