Monday, March 11, 2013

What it takes to excel as Sales

There are many books out there which touch on "what it takes to excel" "how to be a successful salesman" "101 ways to be a successful sales man" etc.

Based on my short stint leading the International Sales team, what i can gather is:

Rule 1: Passion
Good academic results or relationships or records can land you the job, but hey, you would need to have the passion to drive you forward, to pick you up when you're bashed down to the ground. You would need to believe in yourself, and use the passion as fuel to drive you to greater height.

A passionate sales man will be able to handle rejection with ease, because, they would understand that all the obstacles, especially rejection, is part of the daily job to "make a dent in the universe".

Rule 2: Brain
You can be as gungho or passionate as you can be, but if it doesn't come with any strategic thinking or brain power to back it up, then it is not a complete package. Whether it is to con or to convince, which is a huge part of a sales man's daily job, you would need to be able to think and react fast to changes. After all, change is the only constant here.

Rule 3: Balls of Steel
Ok, you're equipped with passion and brain, but hey, you must have the guts and balls of steel to get it executed. It is not easy to approach a total stranger and tell him or her how good you or your product is. It is easy to sell, but it is never easy to say No to customer. Most often than not, there will be times where you would need to place company's interests above those of customers, like further price discount. You must have the ball to say "sorry, this is the lowest i can go" and take the risk of the customer walking away. Nonetheless, the risks can be largely mitigated if you understand your customers' threshold well enough before hand. Always do your homework beforehand, as there's a thin fine line between being a cowboy or a brave sales man.

Rule 4: Charisma
This is not something which can be taught of. Some just born with better looks than the others, but that's not the key point here. Charisma does not mean that you would need to be the most good looking person on earth, but you must be pleasant enough for customers to like you. Play your game right, some time sex sells, but most of the time, charisma comes in different format. A trusted look is more important than a pretty face in sales.

This might not be an exhaustive list of what it takes to excel, but so far i think these 4 key elements are important to differentiate a good sales man from a darn blardy good one.

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