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Sales Strategy
Sales Reinvented Podcast Transcript - Best of Characteristics of Successful Sales People - Anthony Iannarino, Maura Schreier Fleming and Tony Hughes
Sep 26, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Listen to the podcast here.

Paul Watts: 
Hi, this is Paul Watts from the Sales Reinvented Podcast. Welcome to the "Best Of" series brought to you by the Canadian Professional Sales Association.

 In today's episode, we have Anthony Iannarino, Maura Schreier-Fleming and Tony Hughes. We will be sharing some of our favorite attributes of successful sales professionals. First up, Anthony Iannarino.

Anthony : I just wrote a book, it's six months old on Tuesday, called 'The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need.' And in that book, I identified 17.

Self-discipline. That's the first attribute that you need. The second attribute is optimism. The third is caring. You have to care and not be self-oriented. You have to be other-oriented. A sense of competitiveness. Resourcefulness. Initiatives. Persistence. Communication, and accountability. Those are the mindsets that lead you to be somebody ... a person of influence, a person of character, and a person of integrity, so somebody can buy from you.

 Now we can get to the skill sets, which I already named, which is closing, prospecting, storytelling, differentiating, diagnosing, negotiating, business acumen, change management and leadership. That's the whole package right now, but that's subject to change, as we live in this age of accelerating disruptive change.

Paul Watts: Wow. What a great answer. So you're saying that there are ... The attributes are both mindsets and skill sets, and you just listed them all for us. So that's fantastic. Next, we have Maura Schreier-Fleming.

Maura: Well, it's what I alluded to before. I always look, and when I'm when I'm working with management, I want to see that that candidate has demonstrated that they are a good listener. And you know, I also say in sales that it's persistence that's important. But it's polite persistence, because most sales are not gonna close ... and you're talking large sales ... they're not gonna close the first sales meeting, the first sales call. So that sales professional has to plant the seeds for the next meeting that moves the sales process along and that moves it in a way that shortens the whole entire sales cycle. So that polite persistence is one that is important.

 And you know, in today's business world, we have so many ways to avoid a salesperson from contacting us. So that salesperson has to be perceived as value-add, that I do need to take that person's call. I do need to respond to that email. So that polite persistence makes that happen and makes the sales process move forward.

 And because I know and you know that sales is one of the toughest jobs in the world, we are hearing "no" in so many different ways, so many different times. We've gotta have a very strong optimistic attitude. And that, by the way, I think you hire for. People can be either naturally optimistic or naturally more pessimistic. And I run for the hills when negative people come to the sales world because they're just not appropriate ... They're not gonna do well. They're gonna be too dejected when they get rejected, and it's gonna happen. And they have to pick themselves up and move on.

 And the last thing I'm looking for is I want someone who's organized. And I'm not talking about every single pen and pencil is 90 degrees to the edge of the table. I'm not looking for that. I'm looking for an organized mind. I want someone who can put things in a process and execute a process and demonstrates good critical thinking. Because sales, we are problem solvers. And if you come to the table with a messy brain, I can't fix that. But that's what I'm looking for.

Paul Watts: And finally, we have Tony Hughes.

Tony Hughes: So I think the very best salespeople, and I'm talking in the context of complex selling, business-to-business selling ... I think the most important attribute is people need to be naturally inquisitive. They really need to want to understand what happens in their customers' world. The best salespeople don't just think about them selling to their customer, they think about how what they sell's can improve the way that their customer goes to market themselves. So they think about B to B to C is a really strong thing that I think people can do. So I think attributes are being naturally inquisitive, and wanting to diagnose properly before you prescribe any kind of solution. That's one of the basic professional tenants.

 They need to be excellent listeners, and I think modern salespeople also need to be able to write. If you're going to lead with insight and build a strong brand ... And it's really interesting, Corporate Executive Board did some research in 2012. But they surveyed 5,000 buying organizations and asked those buyers, "what causes you to select one supplier over another when you look at it and you make comparisons." And price was only 9% of the reason that they chose one over the other. But more than 50%, so more than half of the reason they select one supplier over the other is the way that that salesperson and the sales organization engaged with them. Did they provide a unique and valuable perspective? Did they help them manage their risks? They were the things that really made the difference.

 So the way we sell is more important than what we sell when we look at being successful. So personal insights and strong personal brand is a really deep piece of this as well, and you need to be able to write. And my view is today if you can't write, you can't sell. Cuz you need to write great proposals, but you also need to be publishing some insights yourself as well ... build your own brand. And it staggers me how many salespeople just aren't able to do that.

Paul Watts: Today's podcast was produced by Rebel Soul Media, a division of RED TV, Inc. and with the help of our sponsors, the Canadian Professional Sales Association. Visit to learn about Canada's largest sales organization dedicated to advancing sales and accelerating performance. Thank you for listening, and please join us on our next podcast. If you have any comments or suggestions for the show, please go to our website, Until next time, remember the ABCs of selling. Always Be Consultative. I'm Paul Watts, and you have been listening to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.


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