About five years ago, I was interviewing a potential VP Sales that had been highly recommended to me. “Tom” had great success as VP Sales of a company that two of my board members were involved in.
They thought Tom could walk on water.
But I found Tom lacking when I interviewed him. He didn’t have the detail-oriented answers that I was looking for.
Recently, I was involved in a pretty big transaction. The broker that was recommended to help make the deal happen had a great reputation. However, I found him lacking.
We got the deal done, but I sensed we left some money on the table.
What did these two highly recommend sales experts that let me down have in common? They had made their success in hot markets.
You only find out who can really sell when a market softens.
It’s easy to sell when a market is hot. However, you only separate the really good sales people from the rest in down or softening market.
There are two traits that all the great sales people I’ve worked with have. These three traits serve them especially well in soft or down markets:
A. Great salespeople hustle.
My Mom sold real estate for over thirty years. My Mom usually worked seven days a week. In short, my Mom hustled.
One of my favorite memories of my Mom was after she had surgery for breast cancer. She had tubes running out of her, and she was on the phone closing a deal.
My Mom always hustled, and it paid off for her regardless of market conditions.
B. Great salespeople put their customers first.
The best salespeople I’ve worked with always sacrifice profits today to sustain a long-term relationship with their customers. When your customers see you’re putting their interests first, they keep coming back again and again.
C. Great salespeople pay attention to detail.
Back to “Troy”, the fellow that brokered the big financial transaction I just closed. From the start, he and his team missed small detail after small detail.
Eventually the mistakes cost us as we closed the transaction.
Contrast this with my experience working with really great salespeople. The great ones always know every little detail of the deal they’re working on.
They know who is responsible for what, and they know when each detail has to be done by along the way. They realize that deals don’t just close magically.
Getting deals done, especially really big deals that are competitive, is the result of successfully managing potentially hundreds of small details along the way. That takes skill that very few salespeople have.
When you find a salesperson that hustles, puts their customers first, and pays attention to the details, hire that person. You’ve likely found that rare salesperson that will win in any environment.
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