By: Matt Keramat In the years that I’ve been in sales, I’ve closed hundreds of deals and helped manage a sales floor of dozens. I’ve been described as a hunter and a closer, but I prefer to think of myself as a consultant. I connect with people from all over the country and discuss their wants and needs, and then I offer my product as a tool for helping those people achieve their goals. This is where my passion emerges from - the people. Read on to learn how the human element of sales has impacted my sales style from first contact until closed deal.GoalsBefore stepping foot onto a sales floor or dialing a single number, you must outline your goals. What do you want to achieve? How much do you need to make in order to cover your expenses and grow your business? How much do you have to sell to make that? How many prospects do you have to contact in order to make your sales goals? By reverse engineering your success, you stop making your goals an abstract thing and turn them into tangible objectives that you can accomplish. This is likewise the first thing I ask about when connecting with a new prospect. I want to know what their needs and goals are in order to determine if my product is the right fit for them. If so, I then need to align expectations so that they understand what I offer is a tool to help them achieve their goals - it is not a silver bullet. Instead, I offer a product and service that can help them realize their goals, and in turn realize mine. In the best of worlds, sales is not about talking someone into buying something they don’t need or want. Rather, sales is about identifying needs in your market and offering solutions. So the first step is always outlining your goals. This is why I prefer to think of myself as a consultant rather than a salesperson.People are loyal to peopleWhen connecting with prospects, one thing I always do is add them on my LinkedIn page. There are several reasons for doing this, but they all boil down to the same logic: people are loyal to people. By offering to bring a customer into my sphere of influence, it helps legitimize both myself and my company. Now customers can view my profile, my updates and posts and my connections and begin seeing me as a flesh and blood person. As an inside sales rep, my connection with customers is exclusively done over the phone. By supplementing my calls with an invitation to my LinkedIn, I start becoming less of a disembodied voice and name on an email. I start becoming a real person who has goals and works everyday towards achieving them. Conversely, it also humanizes my customers. When they add me back, it helps me keep perspective on the human element that is at the heart of every sale.EmpathyThe other day one of my coworkers asked me what I consider to be the single most important quality of a successful salesperson. My answer, hands down, is the ability to empathize. Empathy is at the heart of every successful sales transaction and this is one place where I excel. Empathy is the quickest way to connect to a customer because it allows them to open up. If you can’t make a prospect feel like you care and are listening to them, your deal is dead in the water. Remember, in a sales transaction both parties are always qualifying each other. If a prospect doesn’t feel like you get it, then that is an immediate disqualification.When it comes to sales, everyone knows the age-old acronyms like AIDA (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action) and ABC (Always Be Closing). Understanding these concepts is crucial to understanding the sales cycle and the minutiae of a sale. However, at the end of the day sales is about people. The human element is what makes the job unpredictable and exciting. By embracing this human element, you will optimize your sales style and allow you to make connections that bring both parties closer to achieving their goals.