By Emma Stewart, Cofficient

1. Listen

My favourite question to ask when interviewing sales people is "what is the key attribute of a good sales person?". I get all the usual responses: "I've got the gift of the gab me", "knowledge is King, know your product", "being a good networker", "not taking no for an answer". I only once received the answer "be a good listener". I hired her on the spot. I later found out that she had learned that nugget of information from her granny who was Scotland's best Avon sales rep for many years. Who knew?!

2. Be Trustworthy

Notice I say "be" and not "act". You can’t pretend with this one. You have to actually practice trustworthiness. People are dying to pigeon hole sales people into the sleazy, used car sales category. Give them a reason not to. It all starts with things as simple as following through with a phone call you said you'd make to them. If you say you're going to phone at 3pm on Tuesday...DO IT

3. It's Not All About You

In fact, it's hardly ever about you ...ever. You will know how well your sale is going by how little you talk about yourself and your products. You should only ever start talking about your products once you have exhausted absolutely everything your client has to say about themselves. Remember you are selling them something which is going to improve their lives in some way or another. How can that possibly relate to you in any way?

4. Tenacity Pays Off

There is a BIG difference between pestering a client and being tenacious. If you genuinely believe that what you have to offer will benefit your potential customer (and you really should believe that) then you simply can't allow them to side line you. They have to hear what you've got to say. This comes down to good customer relationship management. If you say you'll call back, call back. If they don't have time to talk, ask when they do. Make a note of it. Call back. Send an email letting them know you still need to talk to them. It's not about wearing them down, it's about making sure you are doing everything you can to help them help themselves.

5. Practice Self Leadership

In other words, accept responsibility for your position, your success, your failures and your goals. Ultimately what an employer wants is someone willing to take initiative, someone who is respected enough to make good business decisions and people who act with integrity regardless of whether management are watching or not. In other words, employers want you to work as though you own the company. If you practice self-leadership guess what will happen? You'll become a leader.