Embracing the Salesperson in Every Employee

In order to draw out the salesperson inside all of your employees, you need to know and maximize their strengths. Here is how!

People Strategy

Catherine Dulude

Corporate Coach and Business Happiness Consultant

Monday, March 16, 2015


For many people, the term “salesperson” carries a negative connotation. However, in reality, we are all salespeople! Who has never had to sell a project? To convince their colleagues to participate in an activity? To sell their abilities in an interview?

Many professionals are required to do business development in the context of their work and, in the end, we all have clients, be they internal or external. All of us are, at one point or another, expected to put on the hat of a salesperson. Therefore, it is quite beneficial to awaken the salesperson that lies dormant within!

Everyone can be a good salesperson, but it all depends on the context (the industry, the company, the job, the kind of product or service, the business needs and the client) and whether it allows you to maximize your strengths!

Here is how to maximize every employee’s natural talents for sales.

What is the Natural Sales Style?

Every one of us is at his or her best for selling, convincing or serving a client when it is possible to be natural in the approach, given that this allows one to be more efficient, sincere and believable because less energy needs to be expended. Trying to mimic the style of another salesperson, especially one whose approach is drastically different, is a classic mistake.

Therefore, the main idea is to know every employee’s strengths in order to be able to draw the most benefit from their use according to the context, product or service as well as the needs of the client.

1 – Knowing How to Listen

Salespersons who are equipped with a propensity to listen know how to be attentive, let clients express themselves without interrupting, perceive their level of interest and seize the meaning of what they express non-verbally.

The general rule of sales: listen 80% of the time, talk 20%.

Listening skills come most naturally to introverts, even though it is commonly thought that sales are not their strongest suit. Knowing how to listen is very important when working in customer service or in other contexts where it is important to understand the client’s needs in order to be able to respond to them.

So, if your field or the conditions of your project need a strong ability to listen, the introvert is the person of the day!

2 – The Ability to Probe

This kind of salesperson is skilled at obtaining information and asking the right questions in order to best understand and deduce the needs of their clients. This ability is in fact most natural to people with a skeptical nature.

Then again, beware! If the salesperson feels skeptical towards your products and services, they will have a hard time selling their merits!  In order to awaken the salesperson inside of them, they will need to be convinced first!

For certain jobs, like that of a recruiter, a healthy dose of skepticism is an excellent asset since it is necessary in order to get deeper insights on the experience of a candidate.

3 – The Ability to Close the Sale

It is the ability to deploy various strategies in order to get the client to commit and therefore close the sale.  In order to do so, one has to know how to apply some pressure and how to overcome objections or unnecessary delays.

The ability to close the sale comes most naturally to assertive people who have a high level of confidence.

Then again, be wary of individuals who are too assertive because, in some situations, they may make you lose the sale by applying too much pressure on the client.

4 – The Salesperson’s Adaptability

This is the ability to adapt one’s line of reasoning and attitudes to the various traits displayed by the person being interacted with.

If your products or services are adapted to the needs of the clients, then it is crucial that your salespersons be adaptable as well.

This is where the world of business gets a touch political – after all, it is about knowing how to address different types of individuals, adapting the discourse to the specific situation and audience, and choosing the most expedient time and place in order to reach the set goals.

5 – The Desire to Win

Wanting to win is an expression of the desire for a form of contest; the feeling of motivation that comes with competition and reaching the goal regardless of the nature of the context, situation or clients.

Of course, this may seem like an obvious requirement for sales. Then again, there exists a flurry of situations where the desire to win should be channeled into teamwork and not individual victory. There are also situations where serving the client has precedence over reaching one’s own short-term objectives.

6 – Monetary Incentives

Sales are often associated with bonuses based on achieved results, and individuals who like challenges are most appreciative of this form of compensation. However, this is not the case for all types of salespersons, and it is crucial to both know in which case to apply this method and when to prefer an alternative form of compensation.

If you are dealing with an individual who is strongly motivated to have his/her team win but compensate them only for their own victories, they may not feel encouraged at all. It is therefore beneficial to have an employee recognition program that is adapted to the specific motivations of your workforce.

What Type of Salesperson Lies Dormant in You?

There are two types of salespersons:

  • The business developer;
  • The service-oriented salesperson.

It is crucial to know the difference, because a Batman can’t be cast as a Robin, and vice-versa! Trying to go down that road may end up costing you in terms of employee burnout or a failure in that field.

The business developer feels at ease and naturally performs at his or her best when it is necessary to discover new territories or reaching out to new clientele. It is the person who excels at opening new doors and developing new accounts, but not so much at looking after an existing clientele.

On the other hand, the service-oriented salesperson is more comfortable nurturing an existing clientele than doing developmental work. They will have an approach similar to the one seen in customer service and will genuinely appreciate advising their client.

It is paramount to choose the right type of representative depending on your business needs, products, services and context in order to optimize results.

What is the Global Type of Sales?

There are three broad types of salespersons:

The Relational Salesperson

They will spontaneously prioritize the development of strong interpersonal bonds in order to influence their ability to make the sale. Do you want to develop a long-term relationship with your client? The relational salesperson is your trump card!

The Energetic Salesperson

They will demonstrate a large amount of energy and contagious enthusiasm. Are you in a situation with fierce competition and require a lot of effort in order to be able to sell? The energetic salesperson will put in all the work needed!

The Expert Salesperson

His or her greatest strength is the ability to analyze the needs of the clients, all the while considering various alternative courses of action. They will build their credibility and arguments on their high level of expertise when it comes to their products or services. Does your product or project have a high level of complexity? The expert salesperson will naturally demonstrate how your product is superior to that of the competition.

What is the lesson to be learned from this article? There is a natural salesperson that dwells within all of us and, in order to draw it out, it is essential to know your own inner strengths. A manager’s greatest boon is knowing how to use everybody’s strengths wisely, according to context. Do you think you could successfully recognize the salesperson that lies dormant inside of all of your employees?

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