Winning the prestigious award of Salesperson of the Year, took recipient Liesel Johnson, a seasoned sales consultant at Rand-Air’s Durban branch, by surprise at first.
“I was initially really shocked – albeit pleasantly! After a while I gathered my thoughts and realised what a privilege this award is,” Johnson says.
She adds that as a salesperson, recognition is “very important”, and she is therefore most appreciative of being acknowledged in this manner for her hard work.
She believes her passion for the company and belief in its technology and products give her a significant competitive edge.
“I am a huge ambassador for Rand-Air, simple. Not only do I know the intricacies of my products, I also believe in them, unwaveringly. I cannot sell what I do not believe in, and I cannot sell value where I don’t value the products and technology I am selling,” she states.
Johnson believes that customers hire from her before they hire the products because, as the adage goes: ‘People buy from people they know, like and trust’. Her deep technical understanding of the Atlas Copco technology and products which Rand-Air hires – such as their compressor and generator ranges – has been assimilated over several years, “providing our customers with a sense of reliability and trust,” she says.
Johnson also goes the extra mile to make herself available on email, WhatsApp and on video chats, at any time suitable to her customers – including after office hours, which strengthens her relationships.
“My accessibility doesn’t stop at five o’clock. I keep contact with customers to assure them that I actually care, not only contacting them for sales.”
She believes that true sales ability is an innate and natural skill, which can only be taught to a certain level: “You get those born with a natural acumen, ‘peoples’ people’ with real passion, whose abilities can be harnessed and developed. I believe that a good salesperson does not sell a customer something they have no need for, they listen and assess, ensuring they supply exactly what is required. This involves ‘learnt’ skills to a degree; but also ‘getting’ the customer’s personality and displaying the empathy and understanding required to really connect with them – that cannot really be taught.”
She emphasises that one of the most important qualities of being a successful salesperson is the ability to tailor one’s pitch to a customer, dependent on the customer and industry.
“This involves – as far as possible – adapting your manner, even the way you speak, the wording you use, and your ‘reading’ of that customer, all to put them at ease and connect with them.
No two customers are the same, no two requirements are alike, and a good salesperson realises this, listening and assessing what their needs are and finding solutions accordingly.”
She adds that regardless of the circumstances, she always puts herself “out there” to ensure the customer has an experience that exceeds their expectations.
“This is, after all, the cornerstone and essence of Rand-Air’s values and operational ethos, and has been for the past 47 years. I am so proud to be a sales consultant and ambassador for such an iconic company and brand!” she concludes.