Every manager has their own list of what they look for when hiring a salesperson. Often it is nothing more intuitive than someone who reminds them of themselves. Yet, top salespeople in automotive generally share ten traits that elevate them to the upper echelons of the leaderboard.
How much we identify these commonalities during the hiring process play a role in finding the right people. Moreover, how much we support these salespeople when they’re in our building, and celebrate these characteristics, go a long way into promoting this positive behavior. When those in your organization are succeeding at being top salespeople, you will have one group that tries to emulate them, another group that just tries to compete with them (always falling short), and others that scoff at their attributes. Regardless how others perceive them, the more you put on a pedestal these 10 traits, the more they become a cultural part of your store.
Here are the 10 traits I see in top salespeople:
- Understands How to Build Value Through Feature and Benefit
The most basic element in sales is that shoppers buy (and pay more money) when their perceived value of the product outweighs the cost. Educating customers on how different features on a vehicle impact their ownership for the better is the start of building up the value. This is salesmanship 101 and everyone knows this, yet not everyone spends the time doing it.
- Have Empathy for Customers (and Coworkers)
Understanding the customer’s perspective and prioritizing their emotions over your own goes a long way toward building a relationship of respect and trust. This allows you to focus on the buyer’s needs before your own, which usually helps you identify the right vehicle for them, rather than the best vehicle for you to sell them.
- Ask Questions
By asking questions, rather than talking at them, you give the shopper the opportunity to share important information about the thought processes going into their decisions. The person doing all the talking is not the one in control; rather the person asking the questions is. Asking the right questions, at the right time, always leads the customer closer to the sale.
- Actively Listens
Scary that listening to the customer even needs to be stated, but there is listening, and then there is active listening. Employing active listening techniques (taking notes, eye contact, nodding in understanding) shows them you are seeking pertinent information, instead of talking them into something. Smart salespeople have, not just the ability to listen more than talk, but the desire to.
- Follows a Process
Sure, it would be great if they followed the best sales process, but truthfully, so long as there is a consistent method to serving a customer and facilitating their purchase, it is better than having no plan at all. Top salespeople will follow the same steps every time to ensure corners aren’t cut yet speed of transaction is respected.
- Fills Their Sales Funnel with Past Customers
The easiest sale is one you have sold before. By keeping relationships with past clients active and alive, you are giving yourself a better shot at winning their business again in the future. Top salespeople seize the chance to earn the business of the family and friends of previous customers and do the little things to be a part of their lifecycle of vehicle purchases. Be it happy birthday cards, anniversary calls, handshakes in the service lane, finding new “thank you moments”, and remembering details of your customers because they are a good note-taker in the CRM, the best career salespeople set themselves up for future success with current and past customers.
- Embraces Training
This is one that separates the winners from the bye-bye-see-ya-laters. Those that are consistent performers recognize the value of training, whether they are learning a new tactic, practicing another way to overcome an objection, role-playing to perfection, or even getting a refresher to be bleeding edge at the basics, top salespeople don’t turn their noses up at the opportunity to get better. This includes taking it upon themselves to read and learn how to improve on their own time, outside of work.
- Seeks Consistent Feedback and Coaching
Beyond a regular, structured training environment, fielding (and absorbing) regular coaching feedback based on real, live, in-the-moment scenarios from management and others proves that learning doesn’t need to happen in a classroom or out of a book, but also as each opportunity to improve an outcome is uncovered. Even if it means you were wrong and are being corrected, if it saves a car deal, top salespeople are always be willing to hear feedback from management.
- Garners Reviews
Building up your own online evidence manual through the power of positive reviews is a great way to both attract the eyes of online shoppers and build more pride in a job well done. There are those in dealerships who do their best to generate reviews highlighting the service they provided, and those that don’t. Those that do are career earners, and those that don’t are short-term, shorter-sighted staff.
- Helps Other Sales Professionals
Dedicating one’s time to help another in the field is so rewarding, it gives back in the multiple. This has nothing to do with closing deals, making money, or serving a shopper. The top salespeople, those destined for management, are giving of their time to help up-and-coming sales professionals in need. From offering to mentor a shadow to over-the-shoulder sharing of best practice tips, the best in your store share a selfless, team-first mentality that is infectious to your organization, and must be rewarded.
There are those who get into sales to make a quick buck, and those that develop it into a fulfilling career. You can often see it in the purpose within their step, the smile on their face, the way they interact with others, and their attitude in the face of adversity and long hours. It is these 10 traits of top salespeople that stick out like a sore thumb to managers. They become those we can rely on. They are the ones we can see in the future of our companies. Without them, it would be a workplace filled of resentment, struggle, and complaint. Yet fill your dealership with enough team members that embrace these behaviors, and you have yourself a winning formula.