What does it take to become a great salesperson?

DO you remember the moment you were first introduced to sales? For me it was as a young teenager at Jamaica College when I had the ‘clever’ idea of selling Playboy bunny stickers that were ironed to your shirt pocket.

I made a fortune selling them and I am certain I didn’t ask my mother to provide me with lunch money for a about a year – talk about contributing to the household at an early age! Besides the money I made, what stuck with me was the process, the way I had conversations, the entire art of selling. When was that moment for you? Do you remember the day you became a salesperson? Not a presenter, not an order-taker, but a true consultative sales professional?

The first time you asked that difficult question that earned you the business on the spot; the question that was so personal or specific that it changed how your prospect thought of you, completely changed the conversation, and differentiated you from everyone else – that’s when you became a bona fide, professional salesperson. Anyone can quote a script. Anyone can take orders. Anyone can rattle off specifications. Some can maintain relationships. But taking on the difficult task of becoming truly consultative – only the top 5 per cent have mastered that and the next 15 per cent work at it effectively. The rest? Not yet.

If you are among the top 5 per cent who have mastered this, congratulations! If you are working on it as you read this, that is great too. But if you aren’t there yet, what must you do to become a master at consultative selling?

Here are the top 8 requirements – selling skills and sales DNA – to become the best.


Listening skills – This goes beyond hearing and focusing. We are talking about active listening, identifying specific words and phrases that get to the heart of a prospect’s compelling reasons to buy.


Questioning skills – This is not about having 50 prepared questions. This is about phrasing your follow up questions to go wider, deeper, and closer to a prospect’s compelling reasons to buy because you listened effectively.


Tonality – Everyone can ask questions, but not everyone can ask them in such a way so as to not offend. You need to slow down, get softer, add pauses after each key phrase, smile, and most importantly, your inflection must drop down on the last syllable so that you sound confident in your statements.


Business and finance – Behind every problem you uncover there is usually a financial implication. You must be savvy enough to help your prospect make that calculation, including hard and soft costs amortised over the full term of the problem.


You don’t need to be liked – There is a difference between being likable, getting people to like you, and the 58 per cent of all salespeople who NEED to be liked. The first two are good while the third prevents you from being able to execute #2 above. When we look only at elite salespeople, only 18 per cent need to be liked and their average score in this competency is 89 per cent compared with 76 per cent for all salespeople.


You control your emotions – When you remain present, grounded and not easily swayed by your prospect’s reactions and attitudes you can have more influence on the situation. While 63 per cent of all salespeople aren’t able to do this, that number is cut almost in half as only 31 per cent of elite salespeople struggle with this.


You are comfortable talking about money – On average 60 per cent of all salespeople are not comfortable with the financial discussion. When it comes to the financials and stating a price, your confidence is key. Any hesitation or doubt will be picked up by your prospect and diminish the sale. You need to be comfortable with the value of your product and just ask for it!


You follow an effective sales process. Period. Consultative selling is much more difficult than relationship selling – which takes forever with no guarantees – or transactional selling which takes no time at all and rarely produces results. It requires a formal, staged, milestone-centric sales process. It is imperative to check yourself into a certified sales course like the one at TGL school of sales at UCC which teaches the consultative sales methodology.

Sales is both an art and a science. Once you get a taste of what this industry can do, you should want nothing more than to experience the fullness of it, to be great at the game, and to get the best financial results possible. To do that, you will absolutely need to fall in the 4 per cent of elite salespeople category through complete mastery of your craft.


Duane Lue-Fung is an award-winning entrepreneur and is the founder and chhairman of the Caribbean’s #1 sales development company, Think Grow Lead. For more insights on sales and customer experience training, sales recruiting, sales consultancy, and sales outsourcing please visit TGL’s website. www.tgltrainers.com/ www.tglsalesschool.com or email me your comments at topsalesguruja@gmail.com