Teller or Seller? Traits of Successful Salespeople

Much has been written about what characteristics make a successful salesperson.  Without reading any of the common discourse, you might guess some of the more obvious traits: motivation, ambition and determination. We conducted our own research in an effort to avoid reiterating the obvious and stumbled upon an insightful article by Terri Levine entitled “The Top Ten Ways to Know You are a Teller or a Seller.” Levine, a sales and marketing business coach, argues that the distinction is crucial. We challenge you to consider – are you a teller or a seller?

Tellers vs. Sellers
Give information Leave decision to the prospect
Present features Translate features into benefits
Avoid rejection Risk rejection
Try to win by showing knowledge Win by closing sales
Use rational level Use rational and emotional levels
Reactive Proactive
Want structure & stability Accept uncertainty as the norm
Identify needs Identify wants AND needs
Everyone comes to your door You go to everyone’s door

Whether you’re a salesperson looking for employment or an employer looking to increase or improve the quality of your sales force, consider how Levine defines a seller. If you need help finding the right seller for your team, we can help.

Good Help is Hard to Keep: 3 Ways to Make Them Stay

Turnover is notoriously high in IT. With 42 percent of technology professionals jumping ship, it’s no wonder employers are scrambling to find stable candidates. Here are three tips employers can use to hold on to their talent:

Start Early

According to a CareerBuilder webinar, retention today begins before a candidate is hired; it actually starts when a candidates researches your company, and goes through the application and interview process. About 43 percent of professionals say a job description didn’t match the position.

To get in front of these obstacles, be transparent about the company, the job, requirements and expectations.

Gain Insight

For your current employees, pick their brain. Scott Hebner, VP of social business at IBM says this year “we’ll begin to see organizations tapping social and behavioral data to better understand what is important to employees, what motivates them, why they stay with an organization.” This goes beyond the standard employee survey.

Establish an employment engagement strategy if you don’t already have one. Meet with employees individually and as a group on a regular basis. This will help you understand problems before they arise and create a culture where feedback is welcome.

Take Action

According to this Deloitte report, the main reason employees quit is because of their direct boss. Secondary reasons include better pay, opportunities for growth and being recognized for their efforts, according to CareerBuilder. So, as an employer, what can you do about it?

Let’s start with something simple: praise. Signs of appreciation – from verbal recognition to earning rewards for a job well done – can motivate employees and help with retention.

Professional development is also important. When employees are not challenged or learning something new, they become disengaged with their current role and start looking elsewhere to fill this void. Even when a promotion is not an option, there are creative ways to keep employees enthusiastic. Giving your people access to industry conferences, relevant courses and the ability to work on different projects can be what makes them stick around.

Finally, we land on the topic of money. 88 percent of workers say increasing salaries is the best way to boost retention. You may have to pony up the dough to keep your top performers happily working for you. If your budget doesn’t allow for bonuses and/or raises, talk to your employees and find out if there are other perks that would compensate for the lack of pay. Perhaps beefing up your benefits package or offering flexible schedules would suffice. In the end, if your compensation package is not competitive, you may just have to take the loss.

Do you think employee retention is an issue? How do you keep talent in-house? Share your comments below.