The 2 unlikely traits you must cultivate to make great sales

There are 2 qualities that should always underpin your approach to selling to corporate prospects (or to any business, for that matter).

Before we get there, let me set the stage for why these 2 character traits are so essential.

If you’re like most coaches and consultants, you started your business because you wanted to live your purpose and help others. You also wanted to experience the freedom of being able to set your own schedule so you can spend quality time with your family and friends. Sounds good!

But selling yourself?

Well, that’s always been a point of angst. And you’re not alone. It is for most people.

However, you can’t HAVE a business if you can’t sell!

You may be surprised to know that selling didn’t always come naturally to me even though I’m hard-wired to be a people person and a good listener who loves teaching and facilitating. In fact, years ago (decades, actually), one of the things that stood out in a sales assessment I took when interviewing for my first role as a sales person…  was “I lack patience.”

I had a keen sense of urgency, and sales is all about urgency.

Wait a minute, you might be thinking. Urgency sounds pushy!

But that's not the kind of urgency I mean. 

I mean you must stay on top of things. You must have quick turnaround, follow up in a timely way, and respond to clients quickly, because that shows your interest.

Like you, I didn’t want to bother people. I was always very respectful, and while I wanted to sell products and services that I knew would make an impact, I didn’t want to be "sales-y."

Of course, too much urgency might overwhelm your prospect (you don't want to send multiple emails a day!) I learned fairly early on that the key is consistent, gentle persistence.

It's about striking a balance. And here’s where the 2 unlikely sales traits come in: Positivity and Sensitivity.

The positivity factor

A lot of sales assessments most often rate top salespeople as having a positive outlook.

For example, the Positivity trait identified through Gallup’s Clifton Strengths Finder is described as people who exhibit contagious enthusiasm. “They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do. If you have Positivity as a dominant theme, when you’re at your best, you are a multiplier of hope.”

I don’t know anyone who shies away from someone who is positive and enthusiastic! You can’t help but be emotionally “lifted up” when you’re around people who exude this strength. Can you see how that can help you sell?

The sensitivity factor

As far as Sensitivity goes – again, it’s finding a balance. Learning best practices around the cadence involved in every stage of your sales process is critical. And there are many points along this journey that you need to address, particularly at the beginning.

  • Initial reach out (or inquiry from a prospect)
  • Discovery meeting (where you uncover specific needs and priorities)
  • Follow up “discussion” meeting / next steps (where you summarize the key things you heard in your discovery meeting, give context around the potential juncture you come in at, and what your proposed next steps are)

I’m going to be bold here: Many coaches and consultants (at least 90% of the people I work with) have no idea how to effectively navigate these processes or understand how they fit into the selling piece. They’re not sure when to reach out, how many times to follow up and how to approach the language and tone around these critical selling steps.

If you do nothing else but learn how to infuse positivity and sensitivity into your sales process, it will change how you sell. Of course, you still need a winning selling methodology to really be successful. For now, I suggest you make a thoughtful, intentional plan to work on your positivity and sensitivity traits and see how your sales process changes for the better. AND how YOU FEEL about it.

Find out more about how you can leverage all of your skills when working with corporate prospects and clients.

Download our free report: The 6 Unexpected Strategies of Highly Successful Consultants

About the author

Kim Chernecki helps high-performing freelance executives, consultants, coaches and other experts, land lucrative corporate contracts. She is the creator of the Land Corporate Contracts Fast-Track System, and is a top-rated sales performance executive, facilitator, coach, advisor, speaker and strategist. A 25-year entrepreneur, Kim has consulted with executives from 100+ leading North American and Fortune 1000 companies and has, herself, started up and helped grow 10 businesses and business divisions. She’s closed millions of dollars in corporate contracts, and provides powerful strategies and proven formulas to help her clients do the same.

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