There are people who seems to be born as natural salespeople. But it’s comforting to know that genetics has nothing to do with being good in the profession. This means that, as long as you persist, you too can become an effective salesperson.

This leads us to the question: what exactly does it take to be successful in sales?

According to a new research by DoubleCheck Research, which interviewed over 100 executives who participate in buying decisions, there are three things that make a successful working relationship with a salesperson – knowledge, empathy and transparency. Let’s take a closer look at each of these characteristics.

Knowledge

That is, knowledge of a client’s business. The best way to impress a company’s executives is by showing how much you know about their business. But don’t just state facts, numbers or statistics – tell them something they don’t already know.

Establish a connection with the potential client and having insight into their business and genuine interest about their current state of affairs.

In fact, one executive told DoubleCheck, “We’re not looking for a partner to just sell us a platform with all the bells and whistles, but one who wants to understand how we run our business and how the capabilities of their service are going to ensure we’re successful.”

It’s all about showing you are an expert but you are also much more, different from a bunch of other people who researched about their company. If you show your knowledge of your prospect’s brand, business structure and industry, you build trust and credibility.

Empathy

Clients are not ignorant to the fact that sales executives have quotas to reach, but many of them would prefer to establish an ongoing relationship with their sales representatives rather than a quick one-and-done approach.

In DoubleCheck’s surveys, many executives agreed that a strong salesperson is someone who “is able to ‘read’ the potential client” and is sensitive to the company’s needs, restrictions and pacing. In other words, a strong salesperson is someone who makes the client feel heard and understood.

Sales executives and clients don’t often share the same goals, but taking a client-centred approach helps develop a strong foundation for mutual success. One of the sources said that what they want to build a relationship with is “somebody who is really trying to help us get to the right answer, even if it is not the one we would want to hear and does not help their case.”

Transparency

Honesty is a crucial factor to winning potential clients. Based on the research, executive buyers like a salesperson who is upfront about language or contract details, and demonstrates authenticity through action.

Clients also desire companies that have transparency on record. “If a company were to add a new feature that might be detrimental to our [use case], transparency helps us to see and understand the thought behind that decision,” one participant said.

Business professionals have already spoken – these are what the essentials to winning the bid and closing the deal. So, do you or your current sales representatives have what it takes?