As a sales representative, how do you provide value to your clients?  When I work with existing clients or first speak to new prospects, that is the ultimate question I ask myself. When I say value, I don’t mean the value that the product or service you are offering brings.  Sure, that is extremely important, however the biggest value you are providing is yourself.  You are what separates a product or service from any competing product or service on the market.  You are the one forming the relationship, learning about the client’s needs, and working hard to customize a solution for them.

The way sales representative provides value to the client is by actively listening, being knowledgeable about the solution, building trust, and working hard to deliver a solution that works for the client. And when a salesperson has the competitive edge over others within a company it is abundantly clear. They have the characteristics needed to sell their products and create important business relationships.

The qualities I see in the best-performing sales representatives are honesty, empathy and conscientiousness, curiosity, and a solid achievement orientation. If you can relay these sentiments to a prospect or client, it will greatly increase your performance and provide value to the client that won’t be overlooked.

Let’s take a deeper look into each of these sentiments and their importance when communicating with clients.

Sales Representative Quality #1: Honest

As a salesperson, most of the time, you aren’t in charge of the creation of the product, the implementation of the service offering, or the charge of rate reductions and discounts.  For this reason, be honest with your customer.  Don’t spew false promises or statements that dig you into a hole and eventually ruin the trust between you and the customer.  Lay out your role and responsibilities and become an internal advocate for that client.  Be the salesperson who will get his or her questions answered as fast as possible or fight for an appropriate service that fits a client’s budget restrictions.

Sales Representative Quality #2: Empathy

Empathy and Conscientiousness are two that can be tied together.  Salespeople who take their jobs seriously and feel deeply responsible for their results tend to find success.  Be the salesperson who actively listens to the client and builds a strong understanding of their needs and goals.

Sales Representative Quality #3: Curiosity

Be curious.  Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts.  A high level of inquisitiveness correlates to an active presence during sales calls. An active presence drives the salesperson to ask customers difficult and uncomfortable questions in order to close gaps in information. Top salespeople want to know as much information about overall business goals, if they can win the business, and if they are an appropriate fit for a customer’s needs.  The more you ask, the more you care, and the more the client will share.

Sales Representative Quality #4: Competition

Lastly, have a competitive spirit and don’t settle.  Be the Sales Representative who is fixated on achieving goals and continuously measures their performance in comparison to their goals. Always find your value and concentrate on relaying that to your customer.

Barret Hirschberg is the Sales Team Lead for Affirma's Los Angeles Office.

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