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David Sidwell

How to define your ideal salesperson

Over the years I've been asked this question over and over again. When I was a lot younger, I thought, easy, because we all think we can spot ‘natural’ salespeople:

Question 1: What’s their track record? Question 2: Are they a natural salesperson?

But after years of getting it right and getting it wrong too, I reckon I have a pretty good start point. I have five categories, each broken down, with a single summarising quality:

1: COMMUNICATIONS AND PERSUASION SKILLS

  • Networking
  • Cold calling
  • Rapport building
  • Managing meetings
  • Questioning
  • Probing
  • Listening

Charisma: are you fully engaged by them?

2: PRODUCT AND SERVICE CAPABILITY

  • Understanding of market/competition
  • Depth of product knowledge
  • Appropriate use of knowledge
  • Crispness of summaries
  • Use of case studies

Problem solving: do they pull it all together into a compelling, unifying solution?

3: SALES SKILLS

  • Presentation skills
  • Handling objections
  • Managing deals and pipeline
  • Qualification skills
  • Accurate forecasting
  • Negotiating
  • Closing

Grip: do they know their numbers and current state of deals?

4: PERSONAL SKILLS

  • Curiosity and nosiness
  • Attention to detail
  • Project management
  • Writing skills
  • Goal directed
  • Stress Tolerance and Resilience

Planning and organisation: do they have control of time and task management?

5: PERSONAL QUALITIES

  • Look and feel
  • Warmth
  • Self awareness
  • Judgement

Interpersonal Sensitivity: how fast do they tune in to you? do they validate your feelings?

Next problem: how to measure each of these... I’ll cover this in a future blog

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