Customers buy from effective sales people. Customers trust effective sales people. Customers are loyal to effective sales people.

Colleagues admire effective sales people. Colleagues seek help and mentoring from effective sales people. Senior managers trust and rely on effective sales people to get the job done.

Effective sales people are always looking for new ways to help customers. Effective sales people grow business relationships and hence sales volume.

To be an effective sales person requires an exceptional blend of behaviour, skills and knowledge. The requirements are:


Accountability for achievement of bottom line results is a must. It is not acceptable to fail because of external events. Successful sales people find a way to succeed despite external events. They have a determined attitude to achieving results.

Working alone is not an option for a sales person. They rely on individuals and teams within their own organisation and within the customer’s organisation to be successful. They work in and build teams, inspiring others to excel so that they might achieve their desired sales results.

Being a successful sales person means being disciplined, so that over-promising and under-delivering are the rare exception. Further, self development and learning is the norm. For example, they learn about their customer’s industry and business as a matter of course. If they have supervisory responsibilities they address performance issues directly and fairly.

Successful sales people find ways of improving the business by making their customers business more efficient or effective. They are prepared to try out new approaches and take well balanced risks.


The skills of building relationships are vital to success in selling. Sales people must value and work at developing interpersonal relationships in all interactions they have across the customer’s organisation, as well as their own. For example, the importance of a good relationship with the personal assistant of the general manager is no more evident than when trying to access the general manager at a busy time.

Negotiating to achieve outcomes considered valuable to customers and to their organisation is necessary for building profitable relationships. Likewise, ensuring the supply chain fulfils the needs of the contract or agreement often requires subtle negotiating skill.

Managing the financial aspects of the contract is where the real value is locked in. Sales people must be able to ensure that bills are paid on time.

Successful sales people raise the capability of the sales organisation through the development of others. They will coach and train those who need it to deliver a better overall outcome for the organisation.

Identifying the critical issues or opportunities using all relevant and available information is crucial to sales success. Successful sales people determine the causes and possible solutions of problems in a manner that enhances customer relationships.


Product, service and logistics knowledge are the base of knowledge that successful sales people use to help solve customers’ problems.

Understanding the customer’s operations, services and products and their value chain is the knowledge that successful sales people use to define customers’ problems.

Having a deep understanding of customers’ structure and process is the knowledge by which successful sales people determine the most pressing customer problem to solve and for whom to solve it.

Planning sales calls so that they are efficient and effective requires knowledge in detail of the geography customers and prospects reside in and their daily schedules.

A successful sales person is a professional. The behaviour, knowledge and skills required to be a successful sales person are unusual to find in one person. That is why successful sales people stand out.