The six traits of a successful business sales leader

What are the key characteristics of a successful business leader? Huthwaite International takes a look.

The art to the perfect deal has long been debated by business leaders and academics alike. But when it comes to being highly persuasive and winning big, what are the real traits of a successful business leader? David Freedman, director of sales at Huthwaite International reveals the key tactics implemented by the world’s most influential sales people.

1) Send the right message

You might have the best product on the market and use all the latest industry jargon to sell, but if you don’t look the part, your sales are likely going to stagnate. Prospects want to do business with a professional, and one’s interpretation of ‘professional’ includes the look.

Dishevelled clothing, poorly prepared notes and other indicators of a salesperson in a rush can mean that even the most effective sales persuasion techniques are ignored. Acting desperate and like you need this sale will automatically put you on the back foot and give your buyer the upper hand to strike a better deal. It’s also worth noting that high-pressure tactics don’t work nearly as well for long term sales, than a more considered approach that builds on your core values and is centred on trust.

2) Focus on building a rapport

While we are on the topic of trust, it’s essential that you are mindful of the age-old sales saying – ‘people don’t buy products, they buy a person’. Trust is the cornerstone of sales in any market, and the bedrock of all sales persuasion techniques. By building a rapport with your prospects and clients, sales are sure to follow. Nurture leads so if they feel you’re listening to their needs and are willing to make a contribution to their business – in turn they will invest in you as a person.

3) Point out the differentiators

All sales people looking for new persuasion techniques have heard that it’s the sizzle, not the steak, that leads to a deal. The key is understanding that the sizzle is in the differentiators, what makes a product or service better, faster, more desirable than its competition’s? Your task is to identify these ‘sizzles’ and sell based on how this will build and positively impact your prospect’s business.

Looking at what and how you can improve the client’s current service and product and how it will impact on their bottom line is a sure way to secure that deal.

4) Build a sense of urgency

Urgency is one of the most important sales persuasion techniques because it works. However, sales persuasion techniques based on urgency don’t need to involve pressure and clear-cut deadlines to be effective; even implying that a deal that closes before you leave a pitch could somehow be better than a deal that closes next week, can build the urgency needed to make sales in record time without being viewed as pushy, or as referenced earlier ‘desperate’.

5) Lead prospects to a sale

Many sales people use the wrong approach, telling prospects what the sales person believes the prospect wants to hear. Asking persuasive questions can make the prospect decide on a purchase on their own.

Questions like ‘Do you need a product that works quickly or a product that takes time?’ or ‘would you like to use monthly payments or annual financing?’ are known as double binds, and can be very effective sales persuasion techniques.

Listening to the client talk about the product and identifying needs and areas of focus is vastly underrated. This information can then be used to help persuade the client that your product will help their business.

6) Ask for the business

Even for top sales people, direct sales persuasion techniques are difficult to master. Psychologically, it is difficult to come out and ask, ‘so when will you take delivery?’ or ‘can I count on your signature?’ Yet a sales person who doesn’t ask these questions when appropriate will see sales slipping through their fingers at the last minute. Master the art of asking for the business, and you will see your sales numbers improve almost overnight.

Owen Gough

Fred Morissette

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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