What Does It Mean To Be A Professional Salesperson?

Despite the fact there are many great people in sales, not all salespeople treat selling like a profession.

Some individuals treat selling like it is a profession. In contrast, others treat it like it’s just a j.o.b. and, consequently, actual sales professionals are easy to identify because they have six differentiating characteristics:

Sales professionals are relentless about getting better at their craft.  Selling is challenging and requires perseverance and continual learning, and a deep personal drive to get better. A professional applies himself or herself to make ongoing self-improvement. Unfortunately, not every salesperson sees it that way and takes little initiative to improve and settle for average performance and average compensation. 

Sales professionals take their role seriously. A professional salesperson realizes that customers want valuable insights and problem-solving, so they acquire the necessary knowledge to deliver personal value on every sales call or meeting. They also recognize that their production helps support the livelihood of many fellow employees and their families and wholeheartedly embrace the responsibility that a professional sales position requires.

Sales professionals invest unselfishly in success. Over the years, I’ve surveyed numerous audiences and discovered something that bothers me to this day. Out of the audience, less than 10 percent buy at least one sales book or take at least one professional course in two years to invest in their own personal sales success. Unless their employer pays for it, they aren’t going to make an effort or spend the money. Sales professionals, however, make self-development a priority, even if they have to foot the bill. They recognize that learning drives future earnings and are motivated to be the best at what they do.

Sales professionals prepare habitually for sales calls. The professional takes the necessary time to prepare for each customer conversation. They don’t go on cruise control selling and rely on previous experiences, and they don’t make hasty presumptions about what customers need or want. What’s more, they don’t go into a meeting and wing it or shoot from the hip. Instead, they invest sufficient time in pre-call planning and thinking through what they want to achieve on each call, their strategy, questions they will ask, and objections they might encounter. They’re much like a master chess player who carefully considers each move ahead of time. 

Sales professionals are rigorously disciplined. The professional salesperson prioritizes and manages time wisely, but more importantly, they work opportunity wisely. They prioritize accounts, block out time, and organizes their week and day around the best sales opportunities. They don’t waste time on accounts that won’t pay off. 

Sales professionals operate with integrity and honesty. A sales professional is committed to helping the customer find the best solution, even if it means they won’t land the sale. If the product or service doesn’t deliver on the value the customer needs, they won’t sell it to them.

Professional salespeople are a great asset for any company. The recruitment and development of professionals on a salesforce is a powerful strategy for the company that desires to grow sales consistently and further strengthen its image.

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