There are a lot of misconceptions about the best practices of salespeople. Culturally, we have crafted an image of a Type-A, aggressive chatbot with more full suits than flip flops as the ideal person to push products and build your brand. However, that is simply not true. Introvert or extrovert alike, the traits which drive successful salespeople are often less critical than their attitudes and their strategies.

If you or your team are interested in improving your sales efforts, continue reading to dive into five practical, simple steps that you can begin implementing today.

  • Spend more time listening and less time speaking.

    Nobody has the attention span to listen to an unsolicited elevator pitch. In fact, it’s been debated that the average person only has an attention span of eight seconds. If you want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, begin with a healthy dose of silence. Instead, listen to what your lead needs, and then offer your sincere recommendation. Recognize that you cannot provide the best service if you do not have enough information to understand your customer’s deepest pain points.

  • Focus on your sales in terms of quality, not quantity.

    Before you engage with a lead, do your due diligence. Many times, our sales teams are investing a disproportionate amount of time and energy on chasing the wrong sales while your competitor is attracting high-quality customers. It does not matter whether you are self-employed or an executive of a large corporation: you always need to prioritize your time and energy to maximize growth and minimize headaches. Keep in mind that sometimes a smaller account with the potential for long-term growth and a sustainable partnership can be more valuable than a larger, short-term deal.

  • Take ownership of necessary outcomes - good or bad.

    The moments where you become frustrated are the most telling moments about your efficiency as a salesperson. Do you take failure and turn it into opportunity to adapt and grow, or do you mope and point fingers at your coworkers or the client themselves? In every situation, salespeople need to be accountable of the highs and lows of their accounts, consistently monitoring, pivoting, and responding, as needed, to produce the best results possible.

  • Be as informed as the founder.

    At some point in time, someone believed so much in your company or concept that they decided to grapple with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, leaving stability for the unknown. To be a successful salesperson, you should understand and resonate with the principles that guide your company, products, and services. Then, when you network, you are able to lead with ideas and craft a value proposition that sells for you.

  • Practice appreciation.

    No matter how you personally sell, you probably expend someone’s energy and, more importantly, utilized their time at some point in the buyer’s journey. Regardless of a lead’s attitude towards your product or service, it’s critical to always value potential customers as human beings, too. These are other working professionals who are short on time with long to-do lists. If you make a sale, wonderful. If not, you still should show gratitude. Sales is about more than pitches and closes; it’s about nurturing, building, and maintaining meaningful relationships.

Of course, there is a long list of items that make a great salesperson an irreplaceable team asset. However, that exact profile will always vary based on industry, company culture, and organizational goals. If you’re looking to enhance your team’s sales performance, the first step is not always to tell your salespeople what to do, but also to sit down and understand what top performers are doing well in your company and how to scale those processes.

Whichever route you choose, improving your sales department – no matter how small – is always an essential step in maximizing the value of your business.