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WHAT TYPE OF PERSON DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED? THE 3 TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL SALESPEOPLE
I’ve spent years committing myself to the search of what makes the right salesperson. I’ve read books, spoken with industry leaders, and taken courses that help me understand the fundamentals, but I haven’t cracked the code. Learning is an ongoing pursuit, and it’s not expected that I should have the perfect formula by now, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some crucial information along the way. One of the most interesting philosophies I’ve come across is the one that outlines the three effective traits of salespeople.
Understanding the three traits is crucial because once you’ve grasped the foundation of each skill set, you can then realize what type of person you need for your business. The key to hiring the right person is understanding your product or service. If I wanted to run a shoe store, the most prominent trait I’d look for is a farmer. No hunting is required when you have prospects walking through the doors of a retail store. The sales cycle is short, about 20 minutes, so a little rapport goes a long way. Once you’ve guided them toward the right shoe, the sale is closed, and you’re on to the next customer. Conversely, if you’re selling high-priced investments, you need someone with all three skills, only in this instance, they don’t occur sequentially. More than likely, you would hunt a client, farm a little, close, and then farm again for years with retention-based initiatives, such as dinners and trips. The sales cycle is a pivotal part of executing these concepts. A shoe sale is an impulse buy, but investment products, such as retirement accounts, involve a lot more discernment. The farming is almost built into the job because it’s up to the advisor to educate their lead on how they can ease fears. Our sales cycle at Teeco Solutions is another example. Most of our clients do a fair amount of research, and our product is rarely an impulse buy. One common misconception is that the higher the price, the longer the sales cycle and the more qualified the salesperson must be, but that’s not always the case. If you’re looking to buy a Ferrari, that’s a high-cost product, but the sales cycle is closer to that of a shoe salesman than an investment broker. All of this information begs the question: What type of salesperson does your company need, and how can you go about finding them?
1. THE HUNTER
The hunter is a person who has the skill set to go out and find clients. They might cold call, circle prospect, or lead generate, but their objective is to hunt for someone who might benefit from the product or service they provide. Any successful salesperson will have some degree of hunter in them, but depending on the industry, their role might be entirely hunting.
2. THE FARMER
Once you’ve found a client, you need to enter courting mode. It’s imperative to make the prospect comfortable and help them engage with what you are providing. Depending on the nature of your business, it might be a long courting process or a shorter engagement, but eventually, the farming leads to the end product.
3. THE CLOSER
Rule No. 1 of sales is “Always be closing,” but what they don’t tell you is that this is the hardest of the three traits. At some point, every conversation comes down to asking for money, and that’s always a little awkward. You can skate around it, but you need to put pen to paper to produce a result.
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