Winning with Leslie Groene June 2014
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The Top Sales People Will Have These Five Key Skills:
Empathy with your client- The dictionary defines empathy as; the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. It means you need to be able to put yourself in your clients' shoes. You need to look at things through their eyes, feel how their feeling and genuinely care about what's important to them, putting your own ideas and feelings about what's right for them aside.

Long-term relationship-building skills- Many sales people and companies for that matter spend more time and money getting a client than they do keeping them. That is so backwards. From the time you first make contact with a client you should thinking long term relationship. Once a client has purchased from you and they like and trust you, they are more apt to purchase more from you and to become ambassadors for you. When you develop the kind of long term, friendly relationship with your client and they are singing your praises to everyone they know, the business of sales gets so much easier.

The ability to work with people in other departments of your company- You need to have good working relationships with all departments of your company. Remember, you're all in this together working towards one common goal, to make the client happy so the company turns a profit. People in other departments are not the enemy as many sales people treat them.

In-depth knowledge of the market- There's no better way to differentiate yourself from everyone else who sells a similar product or service than to know everything that's going on in your market. Do you know what your competitors sell, how much they sell it for, or what their customer service is like? Are there any new trends? Dig in, do your homework and find out everything you can about your market. Many times the sales person with the most knowledge about the market ends up winning the sale, regardless of price.

A dedication to customer service- The sale does not end when you collect the check or the contract is signed. It continues on after the sale through the delivery process and for years and years to come. Remember, you're building long term relationships, so get involved in the entire process. Don't leave everything up to someone else in your company. Stay involved, even if it's only to communicate with the client. This kind of follow up will pay off in increased repeat and referral business.

  • 100% acceptance of responsibility for results
  • Above-average ambition and desire to succeed
  • Above-average willpower and determination
  • Intensely goal-oriented
  • High level of customer empathy
  • Impeccably honest
  • Does not take "no" personally
  • Ability to approach strangers even when it is uncomfortable
    Source: Harvard Business School

Focus Point
37. Manage that temper of yours.
Believe me, I realize that we live in extremely stressful times. After September 11 2001, our lives changed forever. Many of us are under extreme amounts of pressure. Our decisions and performance can affect many other people besides ourselves and our families. But there is never an excuse to "lose it" in any circumstance!

If you discover that you have anger management problems, get help. Most firms are much more progressive in the way they deal with this. The first step for you is a personal assessment and inventory. Have you had outbursts of anger in the past with a family member, friend, associate or the guy who just cut you off on the freeway?

One little coping trick for avoiding harmful blowups is to just stop yourself before you erupt by calling a "time out" and leaving the room for a few minutes. Naturally, you won't put your hands in a "T" and signal! Rather, you will just excuse yourself and go outside to make a cell call or go to the restroom. It doesn't matter what you do, just defuse the situation by leaving for a few minutes until calmer heads prevail.

However, I am not a therapist. So please do seek help through the proper channels. There have never been more tools to deal with these problems that can interfere with (or end) our productive careers.

One final word. . .

If your boss is a screamer, try a different tack. Tom once had a boss who would erupt when his subordinates reported to him. After experiencing one such eruption himself, Tom decided to try an alternative approach before looking for another position. From that point on, Tom's reports were always in written form to his boss. Guess what? It worked. Tom never again experienced a problem with that boss. In fact, he had a long and successful association with the firm, and the boss complimented him in front of many key clients and associates. At the time, that job experience was pivotal in Tom's career.

However, again, use your judgment. If you are saddled with a boss or supervisor who is a spoiled child and throws tantrums, think about using your network of friends and associates to network right out of that awful situation.

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