Over the years, I have personally hired and developed many talented salespeople across multiple industries, and for me, it’s always about finding and developing salespeople who possess the “Six P’s for Sales Success”:
1. Presentation 2. Preparation 3. People Skills 4. Passion 5. Persuasiveness 6. Persistence
1. Presentation: Looking the part if so important. If you don’t look professional it says to me a lot about who you are. In my opinion, if you struggle to even look the part, you’re more than likely ill-equipped to deal with the stresses and demands of a high performance sales role. Looking professional is the easy part, yet it’s the first thing we see and judge when we meet someone for the first time. This is an opportunity for a salesperson to set a positive tone before even a single word is spoken.
2. Preparation: Chance favours the prepared! Preparation is paramount. If I interview someone for a sales role and they can’t tell me anything valuable about my business, then that demonstrates this person will do the same when dealing with customers. You have to take an interest in your customer’s business and their best interests. Preparation demonstrates you are committed to the cause and creating the right outcomes.
3. People Skills: We naturally ‘buy from’ and ‘sell to’ people we like or share a likeness with. This makes a salesperson’s personality and people skills fundamental to capturing the hearts and minds of their customers. A salesperson’s ability to connect with other people and develop ‘business friendships’ will determine their long-term success.
4. Passion: Unless you have passion for what you are doing, you will not be willing to push through the (inevitable) set-backs and tough-times to get to a place where transformation and elite skill development is formed. I want salespeople that are aligned with my company’s values, are passionate, prepared to go the extra mile, and are completely focussed on the task. My experience has taught me that with this attitude, if they stick with it long enough, their success is just a matter of time.
5. Persuasiveness: A salesperson must have the ability to influence and most importantly lead their customers with confidence. Without this ability, a salesperson is merely presenting ideas and hoping for the best. Persuasion should not be mistaken for manipulation. Manipulation is a destructive skill when used in the wrong ways. Persuasion however, demonstrated by bold and virtuous salespeople, is something to behold.
6. Persistence: The ability to stay the course, through thick and thin, to achieve a goal is critical. Having the resilience to bounce back, overcome, transform, adapt, change course or regroup is essentially married to persistence – in achieving positive outcomes in a competitive market. I have seen many sales and business people with good ideas and the preceding “Five P’s”, yet lacking Persistence: their failure is always inevitable. And often their success was just past the point where they were prepared to go – if only they had taken one more step.
Salespeople that are naturally endowed with and/or committed to developing their “Six P’s” are far more likely to succeed in their sales roles than anyone else. When hiring and developing salespeople, I recommend looking for those that already possess these six attributes and/or those that you believe may have the potential to develop them.
I also believe it is critical to create a program and a support structure that’s provides salespeople an opportunity to further develop the “Six P’s” on a regular basis, ideally in collaboration with their leader and aligned with the organisation’s culture.
When your team members can confidently demonstrate the “Six P’s”, you will be amazed at where they can take your customers and your business.