Traits of a Great Salesperson

This week Mary has been on the road making sales calls to present our new Quote and Ship LTL software package.  We’ve been very excited about this new product and we were anxious to see how it would be received.

Things couldn’t have gone better: Mary called me after each sales visit to tell me how much she liked the customers and how they wanted to use the new product.  After setting up the new software for our customers, I called each of them to let them know they were good to go.  Each time I asked: “What do you think of the new software package?”, the response was something like this: “We like the Quote and Ship software.  It will definitely save us time and money. But we really LOVE Mary.”

After the 3rd or 4th phone call, I started to reflect on what makes a person successful in sales.  Mary spends 98% of her time in Operations, so it certainly isn’t experience.  I thought about the greatest salesman I ever knew, my late father and founder of Matchmaker, Jim Skane Sr.

I still remember the first time he took me with him on a sales call. I was in college.  I expected to hear him deliver a fancy sales pitch, but he didn’t.  I was struck by the fact that his demeanor was no different than when we were chatting in the car on the way to the clients’ office.  I also noticed that Dad listened a lot more and talked a lot less than I expected.  If he felt he could help someone, he would offer his solutions.  If not, he would thank them for their time, and we would move on.

Though very different people, Mary shares some of the traits my father was known for:  being genuine in their interactions with people; valuing relationships over “making the sale”; and having a true desire to benefit our customers.  I don’t believe you can fake these qualities.  Most of us sniff out insincerity pretty quickly.

Sometimes people will compliment a salesperson by saying that he or she could “sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo”.  I think a truly great salesperson wouldn’t want to. Maybe a nice warm blanket….