Mobile technology has put internet access into nearly everyone’s pocket, and consumers come to the marketplace better educated than ever before. Buyers are not as dependent on a salesperson for product information as they were before with most people now conducting online research. This changes the nature of sales and the traits needed to be a successful salesperson. The ability to “sell ice to an Eskimo” is no longer the measure of a great salesperson.

In today’s marketplace, anyone who tries to sell a product where the buyer doesn’t see its necessity or usefulness is exhibiting the antithesis of good salesmanship. The hard selling, fast-talking used-car-dealer days are over, where it was solely about pushing a product. A great salesperson is not one who can sell anything to anyone, but one who can assess a potential buyer’s needs, diagnose problems and prescribe the fix. Today, closing a deal requires thoughtfulness, finesse and personality traits you may possess without realizing they are what make you an exceptional salesperson.

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The ability to listen and understand

Listening is a skill, perhaps the most important for any quality salesperson. Often, we hear people talk but are too busy formulating a response to really focus on the words and understand what is being said. Ask yourself, “Do I listen or do I wait to talk?” Seeking to understand a potential buyer’s situation, needs and wants, allows you to push aside your pre-formed pitch and put emphasis on the person’s unique concerns. It is really a matter of showing respect. The ability to understand a situation from another’s vantage point instills trust in you with a potential buyer, and places you in a prime position to offer solutions.

Have a passion for your product

If you are excited about a product or service that you know can solve problems or make life better, your excitement, if genuine, will be contagious. If you aren’t enthusiastic about what you are selling, you should consider selling something else, a product that you can get behind whole-heartedly. It requires the salesperson to be an optimist, a positive thinker, and one who believes in solving problems.

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Possess strong people skills

How is your ability to read body language? Howard Gardner revolutionized the field of education with the publication of his work “Multiple Intelligences.” According to his theory, a strong sensitivity to the moods, feelings, and motivations of others makes you high in interpersonal intelligence. This is an invaluable strength when it comes to sales. You need to recognize when your pitch is not resonating and a change in tactics is needed. It will also help you see when an indecisive prospect needs just a little bit more information or encouragement to commit to a purchase.

The desire to go over and above

It is not enough to deliver the minimum once a sale is complete. If you strive towards excellence, push yourself to exceed expectations. If you do so, you will be repaid with customer loyalty, positive reviews and potentially new client referrals. This may involve a little obsessive behavior, a push towards perfectionism, but if you wow your customers, you will leave an impression that won’t soon be forgotten.

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This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse