Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there’s no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or to give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. ― Arthur MillerDeath of a Salesman

If I asked you to describe a salesperson would you picture a fast-talking huckster more interested in moving their products than helping customers? Unfortunately, that salesperson is still out there, but the tide is changing and the salesperson who depends on a “smile and shoeshine” will find it progressively more difficult to connect with buyers.

Who is the Future Salesperson?

  • Consultant – The productive salesperson of tomorrow will be a true consultant focused first and foremost on the customer’s needs. He or she will be an expert on the product and industry. They will resemble today’s paid consultant more than yesterday’s salesperson.
  • Collaborator – Future sales people and customers will collaborate to maximize product usefulness. Some products will be created specifically to solve problems while other products will be shared with customers to beta test and brainstorm potential uses.
  • Customer Service Advocate – With customers having full access to millions of potential clients on social networks nothing will be more important than keeping them happy.
  • Analytic advisor – Salespeople with the ability to analyze big data and offer strategies to capture market share will be in demand.
  • Product developer – The best salespeople will work directly with an R & D team to develop products specific to customer’s needs.
  • Educated in sales – Many salespeople in the future will hold degrees in professional sales Top Universities for a Professional Sales Education.
  • Sales Scientist – In the past, the power of persuasion, and the psychology behind the sale, combined to create the art of sales. In the future, the ability to use the scientific method will be critical to the science of sales.
  • Partner – Salespeople will develop partnerships working side-by-side with customers, participating in strategy meetings, educational training, and product roll-out.

She’s not your Father’s Car Salesman

Personality profiles using gregariousness as a benchmark for sales ability are outdated. Whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert will be less of an indicator of sales potential than empathy, problem-solving ability, and analytical thinking.

The only thing you’ve got in this world is what you can sell. ― Arthur MillerDeath of a Salesman.

The only thing the salesperson of tomorrow will have is how they can help.
Photo by Emilien / CC BY-SA