1) Competence is critical:
As products become more and more similar, one of the ways to keep out of the commodity trap is for the salesperson to add real and significant value by being exceedingly professional, prepared, and competent. It is not enough just to know about your products and services, you must be an expert on your products and services, your industry, your competition, your customer, and their business.
2) Keep up with technology:
The velocity of change across every business is only going to continue to increase every year. That means you have to keep up with the technologies that change your business, the technologies that change your customers’ business. and the technologies that will impact how you perform your job as a salesperson.
3) Social media is the future of referrals:
Social proof via social media will continue to grow as the major driver of referrals. There is absolutely no stronger marketing then when a satisfied customer tells 1, 100 or 1,000 people about how amazing you or your products and services are. On the other hand, you must also remember that if you mess something up terribly, you can just as easily create a customer terrorist who goes out to their entire network in an effort to share that experience.
4) You can’t sell just your product:
It is critical for the salesperson to not just to sell their products and services, but have a command of the full array of solutions that can solve a broad set of problems for their customer, even when it means bringing in other vendors who have unique expertise and possibly even partnering with the competition. If you can be the type of salesperson who is basically a “one-stop shop” for your customers, giving them the answers and solutions they need no matter where they come from, you will be a valuable resource and member of their team.
5) Some things will never change:
There are core elements of being a true sales professional — honesty, integrity, responsiveness, trust, superb communication skills, and always acting in the best interest of the customer.