Some people are just born with it: an enlightened personality that helps them lead their sales team to the very summit of success. Others, through sheer effort, develop a range of skills and become great leaders. So what does this tell us? That we are all capable of stepping up and of demonstrating that, yes, business growth is possible – even in times of crisis.

Whether you match the first or second profile, it’s worth paying heed to the words of wisdom of top sales gurus. There was a time when they too stepped up, and their experience and the results they achieved provide us with a master class in selling.

Here are some great examples from Brian Tracy and Bob Burg, who reveal the qualities and decisions that shape the “before” and “after” in the search for sales success.

Brian Tracy

Have healthy ambition

The salespeople who have stood out in any company are the ones who’ve tried to do a better job each day. This means making a firm commitment to excellence, and continually learning new skills to position yourself as an expert in your sector.

Confront your fears

We all experience blocks, or situations that test our nerves to the limit. If you want to look ahead and achieve your goal, you need to get rid of burdens that weigh you down. If you’re aiming for success, you usually fear failure, criticism or rejection. If you avoid those situations, not only does it show a lack of courage, but you’ll never know what you’re truly capable of.

If this sounds familiar, Tracy recommends repeating the mantra, “I can do it!” If you want to learn to sell more, you need high self-esteem and a lot of confidence.

Show enthusiasm!

The best salespeople firmly believe in everything about their offering (their company, the product or service they’re selling, their customers) but above all, they believe in themselves. There’s a direct relationship between your level of self-confidence, the benefits of what you’re selling, and your capacity to convince people to buy it.

The result is a genuine chain of enthusiasm. The more you enjoy and learn from your work, the better you’ll be at selling. If you’re growing both personally and professionally, your clients will increasingly appreciate both your authenticity, and the help you give them with their buying decision. And a satisfied client is an evangelist client – and so begins a positive domino effect.

Bob Burg

Demonstrate emotional control

As human beings we sometimes get carried away by our feelings and don’t always think our decisions through. Bob Burg, in his on-going studies on the role of influence in sales, warns of the negative image given by people who act on impulse or take advantage of emotions.

The same applies to sales management. A sales person must demonstrate authenticity and proximity; you can’t manipulate a customer by playing on their negative emotions (e.g. making them feel bad, or guilty) to win their approval.

Use tact and convey empathy

The perfect characteristic for building a positive future is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes – and look after every detail of the interaction.

As Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence explains, “People with empathy are natural leaders who know how to express the non-expressed, non-articulated collective sentiment to guide a group towards its objectives.” Tact, on the other hand, says Burg, is “the language of strength”.

Establish an appropriate framework

Last but by no means least, to influence a buying decision you need to maintain a dialogue with the customer – having first set a framework. Or in other words, the premise. This helps you to build a business based on confidence, where the conditions are clear right from the start – a gesture of maximum transparency and responsibility that will ultimately reap its rewards.

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