What Makes a Great Salesperson?

Playing my favorite sport by the water keeps me happy and stress-free.

With the numerous options of articles, videos, podcasts, books, and creative tutorials out there on how to train salespeople to be great at selling, how does one even know where to begin?

In my opinion, everything that we do daily is selling. When we inspire someone to join our favorite charity or eat at our favorite restaurant or try something new with us, we are selling. If a banker convinces us to change to another type of account, that is selling. If someone asks us out on a date, that is selling. If a mother can convince her child to go to bed early so that the child will not get tired in the morning, that is selling. I hope you get the idea of what I am trying to convey.

To me, the meaning of selling is to engage, to intrigue, to persuade, to seduce, to entice, to enroll, and so on. Selling does not always have to be in exchange for a material thing or for money. For example, if you encourage someone to take action on your idea to improve their work or personal life, that is selling.  I feel like I have been selling my whole life. Always engaging and enrolling or inspiring, and motivating someone somewhere to try something that I am excited about at the moment.

In order to thrive as a salesperson, there are certain qualities I think a good salesperson must possess. Can those be taught and trained? I am not sure. Why don’t you read on to see what I have to say and then make that decision for yourself and your team?

Passion: I have seen many people in a sales position because it is a job, and not for the love of the product or the service offerings they are trying to sell. So much of sales is about sharing and communicating your enthusiasm and excitement about what you are selling. If you are not passionate about it, how can your potential customers be feeling the same? A great salesperson is genuinely and enthusiastically interested in what they are selling. And most often, you can see that in their body language, their positive facial expressions, and their upbeat tone of voice, too!

Knowledge: Study your products and services and know them well so that you can help fulfill the needs, desires, and respond to your customer questions promptly with well-informed and accurate data. Be the living example of it. Instead of spending time keeping track of what your competitors are doing, spend time giving your customers a unique, exclusive experience with you.

Honesty: A good salesperson is honest. Potential clients are watching and listening to you very intently, and can sense if a person is sincere or not. When you are honest and maintain integrity in your promises and delivery to your customers, you will build trust with them. And trust is the most important element in keeping any relationship strong.

Asking and Listening: When you are attentive to your customers’ wants and needs, you ask them specific questions about what they are looking for, their thoughts and concerns about the products and services, and then repeat their responses back to them to ensure them you have heard them correctly.  This is called active listening. The best sales experiences happen when your client feels that you know exactly what they want and need because you have done your homework of asking and listening. Soon, you will become a trusted adviser to the customer and transactions in the future will be simple and easy.

Detail Oriented: It’s the little things that matter. A great salesperson is very detail oriented. Their actions are fully thought out and performed with precision.  They know that every step they take and every little thing they do will be used by the potential customer to measure the worth of their brand or product in order to make the purchasing decision.

Polished and Positive: Finally, a polished image and a positive attitude are the key ingredients to get you in the door. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. When you look your best, you will feel your best. Your confidence and joy will be contagious and everyone around you will want to have what you have. Interestingly, it has been scientifically proven that our mental and emotional well-being skyrocket when we are looking our best. When you are polished from head to toe, your confidence shines through. You are more mentally alert and prepared for what is coming at you, regardless of how sudden or challenging. As they say, you do not have a second chance to make a first impression.

These are my top 6 qualities that a great salesperson must possess. But my #1 quality in a great salesperson is Loving Life. If a person is in love with their life and themselves, they will highly value their time and will only choose jobs that they enjoy and are passionate about. Work will not feel like work if you love what you do and are true to yourself. It will feel like you are living your dream life. And that is moi 99.9%! (smiles)

Being able to walk to the water within minutes from work makes my life even more powerful.

A Little Image Upgrade Goes A Long Way

A little polishing of your image goes a long way, as you will see from the images below!  In an earlier post, I posed the question, “What does your professional image say about you?” Due to such great feedback, I decided to feature more.  One commenter shared “I’ve stepped up the way I dress in the office, and it’s contagious!  My colleagues now are starting to bring their ‘A game.’”  That is exactly what should happen!

Some say fashion is frivolous, but I say that a little upgrade in your image might just lead you to that promotion you have been after, or it may help you land that high-level client that you have been carefully cultivating.   And the best part is that it only takes small tweaks to achieve a new polished and professional you.

Take a look at the Polished by tu-anh transformations below and see if you can spot the differences in the “before” and “after” photos.  You have the entire weekend until you return to work on Monday, so take that time to see if you can make some changes to your own appearance based on what I have shared.  And of course, if you need help, my team and I can help, too.  As always, leave your own tips in the comments section below, or send me your thoughts directly.  You know how much I love hearing from my readers!


Top 5 Secrets To A Great Relationship

When it comes to relationships, whether personal or business, why is it that some relationships are better than others?  Strong, quality, and long-lasting relationships take time and effort to develop.  I cannot speak for everyone else, but what I can share with you are my personal and professional experiences and observations. There are so many aspects involved in having and building a great relationship, but to keep it simple and real, here are my top 5:

COMMUNICATION – This is the top on my list.  Everything we do in our everyday life requires communication of some sort, and every aspect of that requires verbal communication.  When there are money problems in a relationship, it takes communication to resolve it.  When there is cheating in a relationship, it takes communication to resolve it. When a company is in trouble, it takes communication to find out the root of the problem in order to plan, execute, and resolve the issue.  You get the point!  What I learned from Steven Gaffney is that “it is not what you say, but it is what you don’t say” that can cause a lot of misunderstandings, stress, and – especially in business – loss of time, money, productivity, and more.  When you do not get that unsaid said, people will make assumptions based on what they know and take action on those assumptions.

RESPECT – This is so important. In romantic relationships, it means acknowledging and accepting your partner as his or her own being.  You must embrace who they really are as individuals: their thoughts, beliefs, values, vulnerabilities, and all that may be very different from you. By respecting them, you agree not to make judgments, give opinions, or invalidate and belittle them in any way.  This does not mean that you have to agree with them on everything, but it does mean that you need to recognize that those are the traits that make them who they are.  I know this by being an Asian American who was raised with a very strong Vietnamese influence.  In our culture, I think respect probably ranks much higher than education, love, or any other.  When the respect is no longer there in a relationship, it is very difficult to rekindle the trust and spark.  Have you heard about the term “losing face”?  Then you know what I mean!  Most importantly, when you have respect for yourself, you will have respect for others and in return, they will have respect for you.


A Special advice to my male readers:  When you treat a woman with respect in a romantic relationship, it is healthy for her emotional well-being, her sense of worth, her self-esteem, and it fulfills her need for emotional security. That is what most women want – well, at least from my perspective – and when you can give that to a woman, you give her the world.  The result is a loving, nurturing, dedicated, and faithful woman.  Also when respect is there, resolving conflicts will be much easier as well.

HONESTY – This to me is equally important as respect and communication.  There is a lot of talk about being honest in a relationship, but how many of us are really honest with ourselves and with the relationships that we value?  In order to build trust and connectedness in any relationship, you have to be honest, open, and upfront.  What this means is being transparent and bringing up issues that bother us when they arise rather than keeping them inside and stewing over them, expecting the others to read our mind.  Again, one of Steven Gaffney’s famous quotes applies: “time deepens wounds and deepens problems.”  So no matter what, never go to bed angry or leave office upset with your boss or a colleague.  Bring it up, get it out on the table, and be upfront about what is upsetting you.  Don’t let fear, anger, resentment, or excuses hold you back from doing so.

APPRECIATION – “Thank you.” How often do your employers, employees or co-workers hear those words?  Many work extra hours, often for no additional money or perks, and often without the benefit of hearing someone say “thank you.”  Why do they do it?  Because, like you, they want to make a difference in their jobs, and they want to contribute.  Everyone wants to feel appreciated and that they really matter.  In fact, appreciation is so powerful that it affects the bottom line.  People who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to remain in their jobs, which makes appreciation a key factor in employee retention.  Furthermore, sincere expressions of appreciation open the lines of communication and improve teamwork.  (For more on appreciation, email info@stevengaffney.com)

In romantic relationships, appreciation does not have to be any big elaborate thing.  It could simply be appreciating that your wife or girlfriend is cooking you dinner, giving you a backrub, watching a sports game with you (even though you know she is not a big fan!).  Or it could be appreciating your husband/boyfriend for taking out the trash, doing the dishes, opening the door for you, or simply just folding your laundry even though he did not have to.   Make it a habit to give appreciation often to the special people in your life.

COMMITMENT – Lastly, and one of my favorites, commitment is needed in order to build a quality and meaningful relationship full of trust.   In business, when you make a commitment to serve a client and produce the mutually agreed outcome and desired results for them, it means that you go above and beyond to deliver that service.   It means that whatever the job you were hired for, you have to commit to making it strong and successful with determination and dependability.  In a romantic relationship, it means devotion, dedication, and loyalty.  Which means if you are having issues and challenges, you must not walk away just yet.  If the relationship is important to you, you must put all your energy and effort into resolving these issues, working them out until you absolutely can do it no more.  Then if you do walk away, you can look back and say “I have tried everything I possibly could.”  But make sure to be realistic and true to yourself along the way.  I have heard way too many real life stories and experiences from people who say they held on to their relationships for 10-20 years, hoping that one day a miracle will happen.  Sometimes you have to treat your personal life like a professional project, set a goal with actions and deadlines…get it?

That is it for now.  Are you already applying these five secrets to your relationships?  If so, then you deserve a huge congratulations!  If not,  what is missing?  Why not make a commitment to apply one  of these right now?  Today!  In your life!!!  Share with me your challenges and successes.  I am a student of life learning and I learn by your sharing with me.  Next week, I will share with you my love for travel.  Let’s go to Vietnam, my love, my home country, the place I was given birth in.

A note about the photo in this post: I took this photo at a store in Old Town Alexandria called The Hour.  I wanted to buy it but was told that it is not for sale because the owner likes it, so they let me take a photo instead.  I highly recommend visiting this store if you are in the Washington DC area next time to check out their vintage cocktail vibe!  Very cool!