What are the Most Essential Attributes of the Modern Sales Professional?

What does it take to succeed in the modern sales environment? Gone are the days of fast talking and hard selling. Customers are savvy, know their options and demand convenience.

We asked sales experts from a range of backgrounds, what it takes for a sales person to succeed with the modern customer.

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Jake Lewis, Venue Expert Team Lead, Hire Space


Gone are the days of the high pressure, "Wolf of Wall Street" style selling. Customers now are very aware when they are being 'sold to', and most don't like that feeling. The modern day salesperson must help, educate and problem solve for their customers. They should be naturally curious, and be able to genuinely connect with people in a short space of time. On top of this, with the use of more technologies and productivity tools, it's important that the salesperson is very organised and can analyse data.

Lowri Jones, Conference Executive, Business Design Centre

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The most important thing in sales is without doubt, the client relationship. Having the ability to build an authentic personal and professional rapport with the people you work with makes the job enjoyable and that is something you can both benefit from. Some of the best client relationships I have translate to not only repeat business, but also an increase in the number of events they want to hold with us.

Stuart Lotherington, Senior Partner, SBR Consulting

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Many of the traits needed to be successful as a modern sales professional hasn’t changed from the old attributes of: 1 - Discipline (schedule) 2 - Activity focused 3 - Mental toughness and problem solving 4 - The ability to relate to people and be interested as well as interesting

What high performers are now doing is to: - Be better at understanding your product/service and relating that successfully to the client’s needs/issues/pains - Be good with data, know your numbers and utilise your CRM to target and prioritise more accurately - Provide insight so that the client gains value from meeting you, whether they buy or not.

Kevin Jackson, Director, The Experience is the Marketing


Sales should be the beginning of an ongoing relationship, not the finish line. We should think about the long-term benefits rather than short-term wins. Focus on relationships rather than transactions. Conversations instead of pitches. Ask yourself, am I creating interest or interruptions? Are you listening or lecturing? Can you find a way to add value, rather than pressure? And what about your prospects, are they friends or clients? Now’s the time to concentrate on commitment rather than commission. Let’s make sales something we open up, instead of fixating on how we close.

Ian Mills, Author, The Salesperson’s Secret Code

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When we wrote the Salespersons Secret Code it was based on extensive global research into the belief systems that distinguish winners. We analysed 10 core measures and found that the top 5% of performers had a remarkably similar level of intensity against each measure. From an accountability perspective they were far more ‘hero’ than ‘victim’ taking ownership of their results regardless of product, price, territory, economic factors etc. From a resilience perspective top performers invest greater energy working smarter rather than harder. Top performers are driven far more by desire than they are by fear. When they communicate, the best of the best adopt a nurturing strategy rather than a ‘big bang’ approach.

Nicola Easom, Business Development Manager, Institute of Directors

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Whether it’s Modern day Sales or Sales from the 1950’s; it generally begins with ‘Qualifying’ the potential client! Listen and get an understanding of the client needs & wants! Many salespeople make the mistake of reeling off information about their product without knowing what the client wants. What is different in modern day sales is that consumers know when they’re being sold to. “People buy People”; so be ‘Authentic’ and ‘Passionate’ about what you do, and you’ll find it goes a long way!!!

Milan Thakrar, Business Development Manager, Historic Royal Palaces


The modern sales professional has to be agile, driven and always on the lookout for the next opportunity. The conventional sales approach just doesn’t exist anymore. Treat every conversation, meeting, client as your next big lead. You never know where your next event is going to come from.

We want to hear from you, was this advice useful or is there something the experts are missing? Let us know your top sales tip on Twitter @EventLAB_Online