1. Strength and clarity of purpose – Successful leaders and sales people have a high degree of emotional intelligence and self awareness. They know themselves and lean into their strengths, own their quirks and weaknesses, and keep a relentless focus on their message and their personal brand. They understand more than their product and its benefits, they find ways to uncover and understand their client and the client’s organization.
2. Selflessness / outward focus – Sales can be a dirty word to some people. We’re conditioned to think that being “sold” something is a bad thing or that we are being taken advantage of in some way. Great sales people are interested. They seek to understand first and are patient and selfless in a way that puts the needs of the client above their own. Think about a positive experience you’ve had buying something through a sales person. Chances are, if you enjoyed the experience its because the salesperson found a way to present themselves as unconditionally looking out for your best interest. They probably didn’t seem greedy, selfish, or pushy. You may have felt that the salesperson acted in a selfless manner or gave away some concessions to make you feel good about buying. Good sellers are able to do this because they are able to focus on your needs and seek to find the “best fit”. This is done by focusing on the impact that they are making throughout all of their client interactions, not merely the one at hand. They can be unconditional because they understand that it’s their overall activity and attitude that wins in the long run – not merely the outcome of a single interaction.
3. Vulnerability – This is the glue in any good relationship. Between spouses, a parent and a child, friends, and business relationships alike. When we are able to share vulnerability with a client through a shared experience, admission of deeper feelings and motivations, or an expression of intent/hope to work together, it blows up barriers, hidden agendas, and other zero-sum gain dynamics.
In business, things go wrong and mistakes happen. Whether consciously or unconsciously, clients base their buying decisions on trust and performance. In most arenas – financial advice, software solutions, and other vendor partnerships, there is a lot of competition between services, products, prices and fulfillment. Great service is now table stakes these days – everyone seems to offer great service. With so much parity and transparency in the marketplace, a good salesperson seeks to understand or uncover their clients needs and vulnerabilities. They ask great questions to get to know their prospect and are comfortable expressing vulnerability themselves in order to build common bonds and establish trust.
Eli Howayeck (MBA, Kellogg School of Management), Founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts, is passionate about helping motivated people achieve their career, educational, or personal goals and helping businesses, large and small, overcome a variety of challenges facing their business.