We are often asked what makes a truly successful salesperson, one who consistently ranks in the top 5-10% of their peers. You may be surprised to hear our answer. It has nothing to do with who “wines and dines” clients the most, or who plays the most rounds of golf with clients and potential clients. And it doesn’t always correlate with the best company, or brand, or the operational service reputation that backs up these top salespeople. There is no simple answer. There really is no global personality profile to indicate success in sales, in fact we were shocked to learn that super extroverted people often make the worse salespeople…why you ask…they tend to talk too much!
We have had the good fortune of working with many very successful salespeople over the years, and present here commonalities in how they both approach and carry out their job duties.
TOP sales performers are honest.
Tell your customers the truth. No one wants to be sold, but everyone likes to buy. Make sure that you are honest about what you can/cannot do and tell it to them straight. No gimmicks, no tricks, no salesy tactics (yep, we said it!)
TOP sales performers are organized.
- They have a plan. They set goals for both sales activities AND sales results. These goals are granular, meaning, they don’t just set monthly or quarterly goals, they set DAILY goals too.
- They use a system for keeping in touch with clients and targets. Some have a company provided customer relationship management (CRM) tool that makes it easy, but those who don’t have access to a CRM don’t let that be an excuse. They use Outlook efficiently, spreadsheets and activity tracking methods utilizing Excel, or they are just really effective with a planner and a calendar. They do not let a client or a target get out of their radar.
- They anticipate common client needs and know how their products/services solve those needs. They don’t assume every client has the same need however, they are organized and systematic in their approach to uncovering needs during interviews prior to presenting solutions that may not apply.
TOP sales performers know their numbers.
The reason top performers can set such specific goals and be so organized, is that they know exactly what gets them the results they desire. They know how many cold calls it takes to get an appointment and how many appointments it takes to get a sale, and how many sales it takes in a week, a month, a quarter to make their annual commission goal. They know which sales activities give them a monetary return on their time invested, and they do more of those things and less of the things that don’t.
TOP sales performers are persistent.
Top salespeople are imminently more resilient than their peers who consistently rank below them. They never let a “no” ruin their day, in fact, they look forward to a “no” because it usually means they are that much closer to a yes. That really is the outlook of a top performer! They also understand that a “no” today does not mean a “no” forever. It’s simply a “no” for today. They don’t give up. The thrill of landing a big tuna is immensely more satisfactory than landing a minnow.
Did you notice, that at least in our observations, a top salesperson’s success was less about their personality traits and more about what they do? The good news for anyone out there reading this is that these are replicable actions…you don’t have to change who you are, but you might have to change how you approach your job if you want to be in the top 10%!
Lastly, TOP sales performers are CONSISTENT.
These are not “flavor of the day” activities, you can’t be organized some of the time. Success in sales is not unlike success with a workout program….you must be consistent to see the results you desire. There are no shortcuts, but you are in the driver’s seat. Why not drive to the TOP!?!
Grow Big or Go Home!