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What makes great sales people great?

“Don’t let them try to upsell you
There’s a reason they make chocolate and vanilla, too
If there’s any doubt, then there is no doubt
The gut don’t never lie
And the only word you’ll ever need to know in life is, why…”

-Sturgill Simpson, Keep it Between the Lines

Sometimes sales and business development people get a bad rep. Many fear us or worse yet, distrust us. Money-hungry, willing to say anything to make a buck. Pushy, overbearing and subjective. Sadly, this isn’t always unfair – we’ve all met sales folks who do plenty to earn this reputation. Surely you’ve been in their presence. It’s an absolute chore to work with a bad salesperson.

But there are some great ones, too. These people work hard to learn the customer’s plight, and help them solve it. They earn trust, and they don’t proceed until they know they have permission. You know it when you meet one. It just feels effortless – you buy something without feeling sold.

love buying things from great salespeople, and I’ll often choose not to purchase stuff I do want or need from bad ones. It’s a pleasure to work with a great sales professional.

I’ve been around hundreds of sales and BD folks. I’ve been fortunate to help some rock stars emerge, and I’ve also watched some absolute meteorites crash. In each case, it’s been a hell of a thing to watch.

Over time, I’ve worked hard to learn what separates the good from the bad. And, while there are many traits that can help predict success, I’ve only found one ‘binary predictor.’ By this I mean that all of the good ones and none of the bad onesdisplayed this characteristic. The trait is curiosity.

Lots of other things matter, but none as much as a deep, authentic sense of curiosity. For example, confidence is important, as are ‘people skills’ and general presentation. But in the absence of curiosity, these elements won’t be enough to create sustainable success. Great sales professionals ask questions before they prescribe solutions, and they aren’t impatient about learning. They ask why and how – sometimes repeatedly – and they sincerely care about when.

We work hard on this, here. WorkBook6 is a sales and business development company – and we want to offer the market the very best in professional growth solutions. We love this stuff, and our clients tell us they’re really, really happy. We’ve got a long way to go, but we continue to grow. I like to think that this isn’t because we say all the right things, but rather, because we work hard to learn them.

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