A great sales professional is someone who brings in extraordinary revenue for an organisation and does it consistently over a long period of time while adhering to legal, ethical and moral guidelines.

So now that we have defined what a great sales professional is, we can then explore what is it that makes these great sales professionals truly great.

1. They have a great sense of their business

They know their organisation well, the role it plays in their marketplace, its products and services and the value they add.

Great sales professionals also know the challenges both their customers and potential customers face and how they are going to provide solutions to these problems.

This ability places them head and shoulders above most other sales professionals in their field, as they are not just focused on selling a product and/or service but actually understand how what they do fits into a much bigger picture.

This gives them an edge in sophistication while the rest remain superficial in their sales jobs.

2. They completely segment their market place

They divide all customers and potential customers into segments.

If their focus is on individual customers, they break them down according to age, gender, occupation, income, designation, education, marital status, geographical location and other relevant segments.

If their focus is on institutional customers, they also segment them according to industry, revenue, immediacy of needs and other relevant criteria.

The reason great sales professionals do this is to get a bird’s eye view and gain clarity on their entire marketplace. This gives them a very good sense of who their A+, A and A- grade customers are.

It allows them to differentiate and customise their products and services according to demand and further target their marketing efforts.

This makes them truly smart workers as opposed to just hard workers.

3. They know what is really going on in their customers’ minds

They take the time to find out why their customers are conversing with them. They listen carefully and end up distinguishing a few things:

    * Is my customer looking to attract a new status quo, repel an old status quo or maintain an existing status quo?

    * Do I need to address the price issue from a “too much”, too little” or “just right” perspective?

    * Is the quality and quantity I am providing “too good”, too poor” or “just perfect”?

    * Esoterically, what is the intangible value my customer is keen to gain? Is he looking to do some good, be helpful, feel successful, enhance his identity, gain knowledge, promote security, enjoy happiness, feel free and/or gain peace of mind?

Great sales professionals distinguish not just the big but also the small things and pay attention to areas others often do not even know the importance of.

4. They take a long-term view

Great sales professionals understand the importance of meeting short-term targets, and they have the discipline and integrity to deliver upon them while others make up excuses, play the blame game, argue things out endlessly, complain about whatever they can and thus remain in denial as to their shortcomings.

While great sales professionals meet their short-term targets, they also take the time to establish long-term relationships.

They know that the cost of acquiring a new client far outweighs the profitability of continuing to serve an existing client.

Because of this, they do not play the “hit-and-run, just-get-the-money-forget-the-value and tell-the-customer-what-they-want-to-hear” games that sales staff have a reputation for.

Great sales professionals genuinely take the time to build long-term value by solving both short-term and long-term problems.

They make themselves available at all times and keep the relationship warm, even when there is no potential sale to be made.

They truly care about making the interests of the customer a priority and not just pitch what needs to be moved or cleared.

They continuously make valuable suggestions as to what the customer should consider next, even when these are contrary to the customer’s own thinking — but they are never pushy while doing this.

They give their customers the room to make their own choices. 

Above all else, they unequivocally treat their customers as they would like to be treated and, in the process, build the hardest thing in human relationships — trust.