What are the qualities or traits of the very best salespeople?

How many renowned salespeople do you have?

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One of the points I share during every AdSeller training session is what I feel are the qualities or traits of the very best salespeople in the universe.  In a time when many of the talents from yesterday are not working like they once did, see if these still make sense to you.

In this order:

1. PASSION

We've all seen it. A rep is animated, excited, bubbly and seemingly oozes with passion and enthusiasm. And, guess what? They succeed consistently. 

Whether the passion is contagious or their enthusiasm is persuasive, the advertiser just buys. For all we know, the account might find such good spirited reps annoying, so they say, "yes" just to get rid of them. However, I believe a rep who consistently displays emotion, passion and conviction in the value of the products and services she is selling will do awfully well. The advertiser will buy because they are impressed with how committed the rep is to the product and/or service and essentially say to themselves, "...if she believes so strongly in the power of newspaper, then I'll give it a try."

Most of the good salespeople I know are a pretty passionate group.

2.  PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

Unfortunately, this one is a moving target. Not only am I talking about knowing what you are selling, but also how that will serve (or not) the advertiser.

One didn't need a lot of "product knowledge" when all we had to sell with was rate and circulation information and there was far less competition.  Nowadays, the products and services we sell require an ever growing and, unfortunately, ever more confusing set of metrics, so it is absolutely inevitable (and OK!) that some of the talent we once eagerly hired simply don't possess the right skills to succeed.

And, as challenging as finding and keeping the right salespeople is today, it will get harder tomorrow.  Get over it.

Despite that cheery thought, there are two reasons that TODAY can be a great time to be selling newspapers and all they are becoming ...

... First of all, the mom and pop, local small and mid-sized business are more confused than ever.  They are desperate for a trusted salesperson to help them navigate all the myriad new channels and digital-this's and social-that's.  When armed with the proper tools and understanding, newspapers can kick ass.

... Plus, there are a LOT of them!

A small market newspaper might have a business relationship with, what, 5 percent to 8 percent of the businesses in their community, yet a major metro will be a absolute rock star if it penetrates 2 percent. In either scenario, there are a TON of prospects we should be pursuing. By no means am I suggesting EVERY local business is an ideal candidate, but humans are humans and even organizations develop similar routines, comfort zones and, yes, ruts. There are oodles of categories and niches to chase and with the new tools and products so many of us have, the time is RIGHT.

So, add product knowledge to that passionate salesperson and you'll have a World Class colleague.

3.  PERSISTENCE

Certainly unheralded, but every bit as important is persistence.

Every sales rep gets told "no" in dozens of different ways and thousands of times. In some cases, the "no" is well reasoned and appropriate and the prospect would not be a good, long-term customer. However, in most cases, it is an excuse or simply means, "I'm not convinced!"

The good reps figure out the difference and the really good ones know that by being persistent and systematically bringing ideas and new business solutions to the advertiser, while respecting their time and dollars, a strong partnership is possible.

Or, said another way, the best reps are pleasantly persistent.

That's all there is to it – combine enthusiasm and love with impeccable product knowledge and a dash of pleasant persistence and you'll have an intergalactically renowned salesperson. How many do you have? 

S.W. Papert, III, president of Wormhole, can be reached at spapert@sbcglobal.net or (805) 927-7420.

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