Ask anyone what it takes to make it in sales, and you’ll no doubt hear the same clichés over and again. People often assume that you have to be extremely extroverted, even aggressive, to excel. This is a misconception. At Prime Appointments, we’ve recruited hundreds of candidates for sales roles and we can honestly say there is no one-size-fits-all “sales personality”. However, this doesn’t mean that anyone can sell. Sales professionals have to have excellent communication skills, and must be able to keep calm under pressure. It can be difficult to know how you’ll perform in the fast-paced, target-driven world of sales until you try it for yourself. However, there are a few clues that can indicate whether or not selling will come naturally to you. Here are our 8 top giveaways that you were born to sell:
- You’re not afraid to haggle
Can’t go to a market without getting into a debate with the fruit seller? If you enjoy a good haggle, consider whether or not you’d enjoy channelling your negotiation skills into a sales role. Our experienced sales consultant Michelle Marples has placed hundreds of candidates in sales roles across the UK. Moreover, as a recruiter, she has years of experience working in a sales-driven environment. She’s found that natural sales professionals tend to find their bargaining skills extend beyond work: ‘Buying your vegetables from the market – you will automatically want to barter! If you’re buying a new car, you’ll try to get a nicely reduced rate with all the add-ons.’ However, if the thought of driving a haggling makes you want the ground to swallow you up, sales might not be the career for you.
- You don’t sweat the small stuff.
In sales, no two days are the same. One day, you might be riding high, hitting your targets and raking in new business. The next, it can all fall apart. It’s easy to stay positive when things are going well. However, the mark of a truly great sales professional is being able to move on from setbacks, and start each day afresh. One of our leading consultants, Kate Ellis, lives by the motto ‘keep trying and you can only go up’. She says ‘I have had days where it’s terrible. No dressing it up, no one has taken my call … but you have to keep going, keep moving. If you give up, you will stay still.’
- You’re inquisitive
In the world we live in today, businesses and consumers alike are more informed than ever about their options. If you want to target the right people, with the right pitch, you need to know your audience inside and out. Nowadays, most reps will thoroughly research their prospects before making a call. Our consultant Quinn enjoyed a successful career in sales before transferring to recruitment. He recommends making an effort to identify with a company’s core values before making contact.
‘Every business has a long list of things that make them great, different, or special, but it’s really key to identify those that resonate with you. That way, when you are out representing your company and getting people to buy in to what you’re trying to promote, you can only come across as genuine.’
If you’re prepared to scour LinkedIn, company news and blog posts for clues as to how to hone your pitch, you’ll stand a much stronger chance of holding your prospects’ attention, and making a sale.
- You’re emotionally intelligent
Targeting the right customers is one thing; connecting with them is another. To build an authentic relationship with your potential buyers, you need to be intuitive and responsive to their needs. Studies show that alongside confidence and ego-drive, the ability to tap into other people’s feelings is one of the main predictors of a sales professional’s success.
- You make friends easily
What’s your idea of a fun Saturday night? Do you enjoy meeting new people and catching up with friends, or do you prefer a quiet night in? Of course, even the most sociable of us need time alone. However, there’s no denying the fact that when it comes to succeeding in sales, a sociable nature is extremely helpful. In order to make new connections and maintain old ones, you’ll need to feel comfortable communicating with people from all walks of life. If you fancy yourself a bit of social butterfly, you could enjoy a career in sales.
- You’re money-motivated
When you picture your ideal future, what do you see? If a look into your crystal ball reveals your dream house, a top-of-the-range car and the latest couture, you could do well in a commission-based role. One of the key factors that draws many successful sales people into the profession is the high earning potential. In a working environment where a thick skin and tireless determination are essential traits for success, it helps if you’re hungry to make the big bucks.
- You thrive under pressure
Do you relish the challenge of working in a fast-paced, target-oriented environment? Can you keep calm under pressure? Sales professionals often have to work to tight deadlines, and can come under pressure if they don’t meet their quotas. For some, this can be overwhelming. A recent survey carried out by online career database Payscale, ranked “Account Manager, Sales” as the second most stressful job, with an alarming 73% of respondents in this job reporting high stress levels. To succeed in sales, you need to be able to channel that energy into a positive sense of urgency.
- You have confidence in yourself, even when others’ don’t
No one likes rejection, but some of us can take it better than others. However great your product or service is, the reality is that not everyone will want what you’re selling. This is where emotional resilience comes in. ‘As long as you can handle objections honestly and rely on good product knowledge, you will often come away with a good result. Even if that just turns out to be good practice!’ says Quinn. If you think you have the right mind-set to consistently persevere in the face of obstacles, you could make a great sales professional.