Characteristics of Good Salespeople

Customers deserve assistance from a salesperson who has the following characteristics:

Friendliness Customer should be greeted soon after walking through the door or into the sales yard. If the customer’s name is known, it should be used. Not every customer warrants a handshake, but it can be appropriate with a regular customer. Salespeople need to smile eas­ily and frequently. Personal problems, boredom, or business problems must not be transferred to the customer in the form of a gloomy person­ality, a short temper, or a short attention span.

Helpfulness Customers should be given a short period of time to get their bearings in the store or sales area, and to look around. Browsers are easily spotted, usually by their slow pace and meandering ways. Customers who know what they want usually seek out a salesperson soon after entering.

When approaching a customer, too many salespeople ask, “Can I help you?” Such a question is not only unnecessary, it has also become a cliche. A better approach to a customer is “How may I help you?” The customer’s response can then determine further action or inaction by the salesperson: “I’m looking for a good, inexpensive lawn mower” or “What would you recommend for a new baby whose mother works in our office?”

Knowledge Salespeople should be familiar with the plants and prod­ucts that are being offered for sale. They should know the answers to questions that customers are likely to ask; for example, “How big does this plant get?” “What are the light requirements?” “Is it safe to spray this around children and pets?” In addition to responding to customer questions, the sales staff should be able to suggest appropriate products and services to supplement those initially sought by the customer. This should increase sales volume along with customer satisfaction.

Honesty The salesperson must be honest in describing how a product or service will fulfill the client’s need or desire. Delivery of the product when promised and starting the service on time are also reflections of the salesperson’s honesty in the mind of the customer.

Good grooming and articulate speech Salespeople must be dressed to meet customers and create a good impression on behalf of the firm. Overdressing can make the customer uncomfortable; a sloppy or soiled appearance can be an affront. Conservative dress is usually the wisest approach in business. Equally important is the salesperson’s ability to speak clearly, accurately, with good grammar, and without profanity, slang, or verbal cliches.

Courtesy Salespeople must be polite and positive with customers, even if they do not return the courtesy. It takes little effort to say please and thank you but it leaves an impression of caring and civility with the cus­tomer. Addressing customers by name, if known, or as sir or ma’am tells them that their importance to the success of the business is recognized.