The Top Five Traits of a Successful Salesperson

If you're looking for a successful salesperson to hire, a salesperson who not only can sell but will sell, look for a salesperson with PRIDE.

PRIDE is an acronym for 5 characteristics that will help ensure that the salesperson you hire will get the job done for you and make the revenue results you desire a reality. PRIDE stands for:

? Proven
? Respectful
? Innovative
? Decisive
? Enthusiastic

Proven refers to the candidate's track record. Have they delivered results? More importantly, who else says so besides them? As you know, resumes can be fact, or they can be fiction. How can you tell the difference?

A person who has been successful producing results should be able to provide you with third party proof. Have the candidate bring in their sales awards. Have them show you the stack-ranked sales reports showing their name at or near the top of the field.

More importantly, what do their customers have to say about them? Can the candidate produce testimonial letters from their customers, indicating they were satisfied with the buying experience? Candidates should be able to furnish written recommendations proving that they were able to deliver tangible results.

Salespeople should approach being Respectful from two positions. First, they need to be respectful of others. Careful listeners, these salespeople would never be regarded as pushy because they take the time to hear their prospects out. They keep their egos in check, remembering that everyone can make a valuable contribution in their own way and that other team members deserve respect, too.

Second, your salespeople need to respect themselves. Expect them to have a quiet confidence in their own abilities, and a strong desire to use their time, talents, and skills to produce optimal results. They'll respect their health, physical needs, and family commitments, and as a result be refreshed, well-balanced, and ready for work each day.

Self-respect allows salespeople to be assertive, ensuring that they won't allow themselves to be used as a doormat by prospects who want to waste their time or abuse a relationship.

An Innovative salesperson is a problem-solver. They're able to quickly assess a prospect's situation, and then come up with an approach to help the prospect accomplish their objectives. Reactive salespeople need not apply. Proactive salespeople spontaneously look for ways to do the job better, to improve on past successes, to show better results even faster than before.

Innovative salespeople are easy to manage, because they don't require instructions. They're pretty much point and shoot; give them an objective to aim for, and they can creatively approach obstacles and move past them.

Because they are innovative, they tend to look at the world through fresh eyes, and hence have a good sense of humor. A willingness to be playful and funny is a good clue that you're talking with an innovator. Good news! Your buyers would prefer to do business with someone who can make them chuckle and lighten up their day.

A Decisive salesperson can make up their mind. They have effective analytical skills that allow them to rapidly size up a situation and decide how to best approach it. Decisiveness is truly important for a salesperson, for how can they expect the buyer to make a decision when they can't make one themselves?

Decisiveness is often related to owning a clear set of key moral values. It's easy for salespeople to consistently do the right thing when it's clear to them what the right thing is. You want decisive salespeople who know when to walk away from a bad deal, and can separate good prospects from the time-wasters.

Enthusiastic salespeople have become a cliché for all the wrong reasons. Enthusiasm must be more than an induced rush spawned by a rah-rah motivational pep talk. If you want enthusiasm that lasts, you need to find salespeople who are eager to help your customers.

You want salespeople who are excited about what they do and how they do it, so their curiosity is stimulated and they are inspired to continually learn on their own. Enthusiasm comes from believing that you can make a difference, that you can improve someone's lot when they do business with you.

Enthusiastic salespeople are motivated when they understand the strategy that will help them succeed, when they have access to all the tools they need to allow them to do their job and serve the customer, and when tactical training is available to allow them to skillfully serve the customer as well as the company. Enthusiastic salespeople have every right to believe they can win. And they do.

PRIDE is about feeling good about your job. It's about believing in yourself and your ability to deliver. It's about enjoying yourself, helping the customer, and making the most of your God-given talents and abilities. It's about recognizing individual contributions and abilities while respecting the value of the team. When you hire salespeople with PRIDE, you, your salespeople, and your customers all win.

© 2002 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.

Note: This article is available for reprint at no charge. We only ask that you include our copyright notice in your reprint, along with the About the Author (byline) information we provide at the end of the article.

Paul Johnson of Panache and Systems LLC consults and speaks on business strategy for systematically boosting sales performance using Shortcuts to Yes?. Check out more salesforce development tips at http://panache-yes.com/tips.html. Call Paul direct in Atlanta, Georgia, USA at (770) 271-7719.

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