(This article is the 6th in a series of articles on selling, the aim of which is to help trainers understand that selling does not have to be something they hate doing)
In the previous two articles I started discussing the (possibly surprising) traits of a great salesperson; the first one is having an attitude of abundance, and the second one is being a great listener. The next trait that I believe is required to be great at selling is compassion/empathy. This may sound “soft” for the world of business, but in my opinion it is a vital skill.
It’s simple; doing business is the act of creating value by making someone’s life better, or solving a problem for them. In order to do this you must be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. As discussed in previous articles, the sales process is about matching your value with the customer’s needs, which is impossible to do if you can’t see the world through their eyes. Too often however, people care about what the customer can do for them (i.e. – hand over their money). The customer, of course, only cares about themselves, and so if you want their business, you have to care about them not about you.
When you listen to your customer’s story with compassion and empathy, you put yourself in a position to truly understand them, and you develop trust, which is the backbone of any good relationship. As mentioned in a previous article, this also helps you identify IF you are a good match for each other.
This brings me to the next trait of successful salespeople…curiosity. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but in sales it’s one of the most valuable skills you can have. Why? Because good salespeople want to know things; they want to know how things work, so that they know where they can create value. They want to know what their customers want. Curiosity leads to questions, and when you ask customers great questions with the intention of understanding them you are on the road to success.
The other reason that curiosity is a terrific trait in sales is because great salespeople create value beyond just the products/services they sell. Their interest in knowing more leads them to developing an understanding of the areas that surround, or are related to, their specific offer. As a trainer this would include things like nutrition, but also something like psychology. The more curious you are, the more you will seek knowledge, and the more knowledgeable you are the more value you can create.
The main goal of this series of articles is to dispel some of the myths around selling, and show how it can be done with dignity. Traits like compassion, empathy, and curiosity; traits that you might not associate with business/selling, are actually a big part of this philosophy. It’s important to note as well, that these traits make up the foundation of being a trainer so there’s a nice bit of symmetry here. You became a trainer because you care about improving people’s lives, and selling is merely the communication of that message.