The fastest way to develop skills in a particular category is to mimic the behavior of an expert in that area. Finding a great sales person or key account manager, breaking down their behaviors, documenting them, then applying them in your specific environment can save you the time and frustration and lead to faster and greater income. If finding and observing an expert is not a practical option, there are many books, videos and CDs that break down selling methods of noted experts. As you explore the methods of sales experts, four basic components will likely emerge. Top sales performers like what they do, become product and industry expert, have great listening skills and stay determined throughout all phases of the sales cycle. 

They enjoy what they do. Whether you are a “hunter” sales person or a “farmer” account manager, doing something you do not like will eventually lead to loss of motivation and focus, regardless of the income. To be a top sales performer, you will need the energy and sincerity that comes from genuinely enjoying what you do. Without it, your day becomes drudgery and it will be very difficult to build positive relationships with prospects and customers.

Product knowledge is key. Knowing your product inside and out is what will set you apart from other sales people. Sales experts make sure that they attain extensive knowledge of their products and services, their competitor's products and services and the customer’s industry. Being an expert on how your products can solve problems in your customer's industry gives you instant credibility.

Excellent listening skills are an absolute must. An expert sales person will actively listen 90% of the time and talk 10% of the time. Active listening means listening in a way that lets the talker know you are hearing them (Making eye contact, nodding your head, repeating back to them key points they have made, etc.) Well developed listening skills will allow you to determine what problems your customer is trying to solve. This gives you the opportunity to pitch your product or services in a manner that addresses your customer's specific needs.

Determination and follow up are a basic requirement. In the sales industry, constant effort is required to reach goals. Determination is an basic trait of a sales expert. There are many moving parts in a typical sales – most of which you have little or no control over. When a deal falls apart, agree to follow up with your customer in the future, dust yourself off, and focus on finding solutions for other potential customers.

The combination of these traits is a formula for success in building rapport and confidence with customers. Earning the confidence of customers allows a sales person to validate themselves, their company, and the products or services that are offered to meet the needs of the customer. Matching solutions to your customer's explicit needs is most effective method of converting leads to sales. Through the development of these skills, true sales expertise can be achieved.