1: Planning – they always prepare.
Proper planning prevents poor performance. High performing sales people know that excellent preparation is the key to success. They carefully plan their time by year, quarter, month, week and day. Their daily routine involves taking time looking at the big picture. They may only spend 30 minutes on this daily activity but cementing it into their routine helps them be consistently better prepared.
As part of their planning process they make goal setting and goal management a way of life. For example, each sales call has an objective so they know exactly want they want to accomplish before they pick up the phone. They also set challenging goals for themselves that are usually more ambitious than the goals their organization has set for them. This keeps them competitive and constantly pushing for success.
This approach to goal setting creates a sense of urgency that drives high performers forward each day – consistently taking action in small steps in order to achieve great things.
2: Solutions – they care more about solving pain than selling products / services.
High performing sales people present their product / service as a solution to a problem with financial benefits. And in return those customers provide real financial benefits back to them.
Great sales people also consider the timing of when to present their solution. They wait until they know exactly what their customer’s paint points are before moving into the presentation stage.
They begin every sales presentation with a brief recap of their understanding of their customer’s situation. This demonstrates that they have listened to their customer and provides the opportunity for them to adapt their presentation if necessary. Making changes on-the-day is challenging but it helps them stand out from their competition by making sure their solution is properly positioned to solve their customer’s problem.
Average sales people focus their presentations on themselves, but great sales people focus their presentations on their customer. By doing so they help their customer reach their objectives – rather than trying to reach their own.
3: Process – they always establish the next steps in the sales cycle.
High performing sales people avoid losing contact with a customer by agreeing on the next steps after every interaction. They also follow up on their commitments following phone calls and meetings. Relying on your customer to contact you will invariably lead to failure as other items move up their agenda and you fall to the bottom or get removed altogether.
4: Productivity – they focus their time on being with the right people at the right time.
The Pareto principle states that 80% of your outputs will come from 20% of your inputs i.e. 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your customers. This is key to maximizing sales. Average sales people spend the majority of their time with customers who do not fall into the top 20% of their biggest revenue earners.
High performing sales people also aim to deal with the decision maker whenever possible. Many sales people fall into the trap of dealing with the wrong people because it is often easier to connect with the people who aren’t the decision maker.
5: Health – they take excellent care of their health.
You need high levels of energy to sell effectively and to bounce back from continual rejection and discouragement. Great sales people eat the right foods, get the right amount of exercise and get plenty of rest.
They also take great care of their mental health. They practice positive self-talk continually. So they can talk themself into being the person they want to be in the future rather than the person they are today.
Visualization also plays a key part in maintaining great mental health. High performing sales people visualize themselves performing at their best all day long. This feeds their subconscious mind with vivid and motivating pictures which help them behave positively, confidently and with control.
6: Personal skills – they have exceptional questioning and listening skills.
They ask high yielding questions that probe to the heart of the issue. Most sales people fail at this by asking weak and feeble questions. Top performing sales people are comfortable asking tough questions that make their customer think. For example, ‘have you ever considered a different approach?’. Asking high yielding questions demonstrates that they have thought about their customer’s problem and have a genuine interest in solving it.
They also listen carefully to what their customer says to them rathcer than just waiting for their turn to speak. This means that when they do respond they are truly engaging in the conversation, rather than just keeping to their own agenda. This helps them design solutions to customer problems more quickly and effectively.