Successful salespeople possess certain habits. Knowing and applying these four habits can put you into a select group of superstars.
One of the questions I get asked most often is, “What does it take to be a great salesperson?” Some ask because they want to be great in sales. Others ask because they want to hire great reps. Either way, successful salespeople leave clues to their achievement.
Here are the four habits that I see consistently in top performing salespeople regardless of their industry.
1. Successful salespeople sell with a “business focus” instead of a “product focus”.
They see themselves as an expert advisor to the key decision-maker in a business or department. They focus on understanding how their service offerings can help the customer achieve their business objectives. Unlike many mediocre sales reps who focus superficial conversations about product and price. Successful salespeople see how they fit into the larger ecosystem of their customer, their supply chain and customer base. Mediocre sales reps only the customer and no one else.
Tip: Read your prospects LinkedIn profile “Summary” to see what their view of bringing value to their customers is all about.
2. They have a “consciousness of flexibility”.
Self-awareness is a key attribute of top salespeople. They are not workaholics. Instead, they take a measured approach to their career with sober judgment. They live by priorities instead of reacting to life. Also, they know life is not rigid, but rather fluid and they accept that. In addition, they have a consciousness of flexibility. This is a mindset enabling them to forge a chosen life path and still respond to personal and professional surprises creatively. They can do this without going into an emotional tailspin.
Tip: Leave 20% of your schedule open so you have built in flexibility for the unexpected.
3. They sell their products and services framed by their customer’s perception of value… not their own.
They know their own perception of value can be quite different than the customer. They keep their perceptions in check and position their solutions to match what is important to the customer. Mediocre sales reps tend to push their favorite features or benefits to a prospect. In some cases, their sales manager will tell them which feature to push. Successful salespeople let the prospect decide through asking good questions. It’s not about pushing… but extracting. This does not mean they won’t advise as necessary. But, the prospect is the one who makes the final decision.
Tip: Have a set of open-ended questions ready for your sales call that focus on uncovering the prospect’s perceptions of value.
4. Successful salespeople never forego the fundamentals of professional selling.
Regardless of their success, top salespeople always remain committed to the fundamentals:
- consistent prospecting
- building depth in accounts
- tightly qualifying new opportunities
- understanding a prospect’s value perceptions
- making on-target sales presentations
- preserving margins when negotiating
- completing the details of closing the sale
Tip: Always conduct thorough pre-call planning and qualifying to ensure you’re always prepared and that you’re never attempting to sell to an unqualified buyer.
Whether hiring new sales reps or developing incumbents, look for these four habits that typify great salespeople. An in-depth sales assessment can reveal these traits to help you acquire premium sales talent or know what to work on with your existing team members. Using these four items as your guide, you’ll end up with more sales and more customers.