5 things successful salespeople believe

The Sales Confidence Skills Series is a selection of articles based on the talks from our first Sales Confidence live event, staged in September. One of our speakers was Simon Kelly, who has led sales teams at giants such as Vodafone, Microsoft and LinkedIn. Simon identified 4 keys to sales success, and there will be articles on all of them coming up. You can read his thoughts on how to make your buyer look better here.


Simon’s next key to sales success was ‘belief’, and he started with a story.

‘When I was involved in Babylon Health, every time I went to work I’d walk past this coffee shop in Chelsea. Outside there was a lady selling bibles. Everyone would pass by her, but I’d still see her there every day. The belief in what she was selling was just extraordinary.’

How does that help us when we’re selling SaaS, however?

To succeed as a salesperson in the SaaS industry, you need unshakeable belief in 5 things.

1 – Belief in your mission

Great salespeople don’t just go through the motions. They’re on a mission.

They have identified a problem with the way their prospects and customers are doing business. Now they are on a mission to eradicate that problem.

Or perhaps they’re involved in something totally new, which will change the way people see the world for the better.

They struggle into work on a cold Monday morning and pick up that phone because they know that they are improving the world in their own small way.

As Simon put it. ‘If you don’t have that passion inside you, how are you going to convince people to change what they’re doing?’

2 – Belief in your product

To sell successfully, you need enthusiasm and resilience. However, it’s very hard to muster up those qualities for a product you don’t believe in.

When you genuinely believe that the product you’re selling can solve your prospect’s problem, when you actually think you’re doing your prospect a favour by calling them up to talk about your product, that’s when the magic happens. You ask the right questions, you develop the right solutions, you build the best relationships.

Resilience comes from belief too. In any sales role, you receive a lot of knock-backs. To pick yourself up every time can only happen with belief in your product.

Simon again. ‘At LinkedIn, the first year we were pounding the streets, and we were kind of laughed at. But we believed in the product.’

3 – Belief in your company

Even if you have a great mission, and a great product, you need to believe in your company to back it up.

From your point of view, you need to have faith that your company will support you. If you perform well in your role, you need to believe you will be rewarded, and make the progress you want to make. If your company threaten you with the sack every month, you won’t be able to sell with confidence, only desperation.

In addition, you need to believe your company will be there for your customers, that they can follow through on the promises you make. If your company have a track-record of abandoning their customers once the deal has been done, you won’t be able to confidently grow a long-term relationship with them.

4 – Belief in your customer

I don’t mean belief that what they say is true, although it helps!

I mean that successful salespeople have a belief in their customer’s vision. If you know what your customer wants to achieve, and recognise the value of it, you can share their passion.

You’ll be regarded as less like a salesperson and more like a partner, and a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship will grow.

5 – Belief in yourself

Of course, to be a successful salesperson you need unshakeable self-belief. Customers respond best to people who are positive, confident and comfortable in their own skin. This mindset comes from belief in yourself, that you have it in you to get the deal done.

You have to believe that you’ll get back up after every knock. You have to believe that the next time you pick up the phone, you can make a difference. It’s tough sometimes, but you just have to believe it’s possible.

Don’t stop believing

To be a successful salesperson, you need to put your faith in these 5 areas, but when everything comes together and delivers on your faith, you reap the rewards.

The final word is from Simon Kelly. ‘You need that belief particularly in the startup world, when you’re disrupting the market, where nobody will believe you.’

Over to you now. What else do you need to believe to be a successful salesperson? How do you maintain your self-belief? Let us know down in the comments.

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