I recently read Dave Warawa's book: Shut Up! Stop talking And Start Making Money. It's a good read for anyone starting out in professional selling and he identifies 10 attributes for sustained success. With Dave's permission here is an edited excerpt of his ten attributes directly from the book.
- Ambition: Lazy salespeople are not successful. Unless you have very strong personal aspirations to succeed, it’s not going to happen for you. Success doesn’t go around looking for people. You need to seek it. A very successful life insurance salesperson once told me, “There’s a big bag of money waiting for you out there. You just have to go pick it up.” Do you have the ambition to pick up your big bag of money?
- Motivation: Motivation, closely related to ambition, is in fact only applicable to those Professional Salespeople who have ambition. If you’re ambitious and motivated, you’re moving in the right direction. Now answer this: “At what speed are you travelling?” That is your measure of motivation.
- Confidence: Sales is not for the weak or timid. You need to believe in yourself and your product. You have to be able to look people in the eye, listen to their needs and put together a convincing proposition to make them want to buy. While product knowledge can be learned, personal confidence is harder to teach. It is, however, a necessity.
- Integrity: Focus on your customer’s needs at all times. Professional Salespeople never recommend a product or service that they wouldn’t buy themselves based on similar need. Your personal integrity goes beyond the best interests of your employer’s. Your customer comes first; your company second; you third. Keep those priorities straight and you will always have customers and a career as a Professional Salesperson. If you’re not currently working with an employer who understands that, find a new employer.
- Respect and Likeability: When was the last time you bought something from someone who you disliked or had no respect for? If customers don’t like you, they won’t give you their business. Period. People will go to great measures and inconvenience themselves to find someone they admire so they can buy from them. Customers who don’t like you will take all the great information you provided and make the sale easy for the first likeable salesperson who sells a similar product or service. You do the work. Another salesperson makes the sale.Perhaps the first lesson of sales should be this:Don’t be a jerk. Don’t give people a reason not to buy from you.
- Passion: Every successful Professional Salesperson has buckets of passion! You need to love what you do and believe wholeheartedly in what you sell. Passion gets you out of bed in the morning and puts a smile on your face that transfers to your customers. They are swept up in your belief, enthusiasm and positive energy. Passion is the fuel that makes the fire burn bright.
- Persistence: Remember the word “No” and what it stands for? I’m not interested in what you have to offer at this given point in time. Persistence enables Professional Salespeople to make the most of the essential role of timing in the sales process. Tactful and diplomatic persistence pays off.
- Work Ethic: Without a strong work ethic, any success you have will be short-lived. Professional Salespeople work hard. They have to build relationships with many people, dedicate the time to understand their needs, desires and feelings and treat each customer with a positive attitude. An intense work ethic is a principle of sales success. Easy sales are rare. For every one that occurs, many other potential sales slip away for reasons beyond the control of the Professional Salesperson. That’s after working long and hard doing everything within your power to convince someone to buy.
Together, the preceding eight attributes are the cornerstones of success. You need each and every one of them, in no small amount, to become accomplished in the sales industry. Without the ninth necessary attribute, though, they hardly matter. So what’s this ninth, most necessary attribute of Professional Salespeople?
9. Drive: How bad do you want it versus how bad do you need it? Drive is the internal engine that pushes Professional Salespeople. It doesn’t make them pushy; it makes them bear down and do what needs to be done over the long term. Drive is the practical application of Ambition. It gives you theConfidence to believe in yourself. Drive requires Integrity for those who want to like the person they see in the mirror. It pushes you to earn Respectwhile being Likeable to receive the support of your customers and co-workers.Drive reinforces your Motivation. It’s fueled by Passion, enablesPersistence and is apparent in Work Ethic. Drive is the power that determines the height and speed of your sales success.
Take away drive and the other eight necessary attributes have no self-sustaining energy. That’s why it’s the most necessary attribute of Professional Salespeople.
Beyond these nine most necessary attributes for sustained sales success, what attribute could be left to discuss? Only the one that is common to all Sales Superstars... it's attribute #10: Their attitude
Sales Superstars do not wish to recognize hardships as excuses for failure. They attain their goals and then acknowledge the obstacles that were in their path. It’s their perspective and attitude that makes them different. They don’t belong to the coffee club and moan about their challenges to their co-workers. They understand the true meaning of the cliché “misery loves company.” They socialize with positive-minded people only and, because of this, may not be the most popular people on the sales floor.
They are fiercely competitive in one of two ways:
- They either need to be the top Professional Salesperson in their division or they need to be consistently beating their results from the previous year.
- They are the top earners in the company and make incredible commissions. Their annual incomes exceed many doctors, lawyers and those with actual Master’s degrees. They dare not tell their neighbors or family about what they earn for fear of jealousy and alienation.
Dave can be found here in LinkedIn and you'll find a link to buy his book.
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Main image photo From Dave Warawa's book cover - Shut Up! Stop Talking and Start Making Money