In 2015, the word “salesperson” has practically become a dirty word. These days, sales people are usually referred to as ‘advisors’ or ‘account managers’. Why the change?
Well, it stems from the fact that nearly everyone has had a negative experience dealing with a salesperson who tries to pressure them into making a purchase.
According to Frédéric Lucas, sales expert and Director General of human resources consulting firm Prima Ressource, these types of high-pressure faux-pas are committed by rookie salespeople who do not have the competence or experience required to effectively sell a product or service.
“It has to be said that the field of sales isn’t what it used to be 25 years ago,” says Lucas. “In the past five years, the sales profession has undergone some major transformations.”
Sales: a Sector in Flux
Today, decision-makers are busier, customer expectations are higher and competition is fiercer than ever before. This makes it harder for salespeople to distinguish themselves and the products they sell.
“Sales techniques for products or services are becoming increasingly similar. In order to succeed, a good salesperson has to find a way to market their product in a unique fashion, even for products with higher price points,” notes Lucas.
4 essential qualities for success
- A strong will. It takes a lot of willpower to succeed in a sales role. You have to be comfortable with adversity and able to handle rejection. “You don’t necessarily have to be a type-A personality or even act like one to close a sale, but you do have to be willing to do what it takes to get the job done.”
- A good understanding of consultative sales strategies. People don’t want to be educated about a product or service; they want to be guided to a solution. “A good salesperson has to ask the right questions and propose a solution – ideally, the product or service that best meets the client’s needs.”
- A natural selling ability. Decisive salespeople often have tendencies or habits that reveal themselves when it comes time to close a sale. “For example, when faced with an indecisive customer who is searching for the best price and comparing products, a decisive salesperson will instinctively ask more questions in order to guide the customer towards a final decision.”
- Knowing how to lower a client’s resistance. Whether by the words they choose to use, or the way they say things, good salespeople leverage their communication skills knowing that a customer who is feeling at ease will be more inclined to buy.
Why pursue a career in sales?
While money is often a motivating factor, salespeople also tend to enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of negotiating and closing a sale. One thing is certain: if you have an entrepreneurial side and a desire to start your own business someday, having sales experience will likely come in very handy in the future.