8 Habits Of Successful Salespeople
It takes a special breed to be successful in sales, which is why, according to a survey done by Alexander Group in 2016, 46% of sales reps miss their quotas and the average tenure for a salesperson is just two years. Certainly, some people have innate sales
skills, but the majority of successful salespeople have earned their achievements through hard work and following certain habits and practices.
So what are the traits of a successful salesperson? Obviously, you can read any of the countless books on “how to be successful in sales,” “how to be a good sales rep,” and “what makes a good salesperson” but “modeling” is a solid strategy. No, not walking down the runway “modeling,” but modeling in terms of finding someone who has achieved what you want to achieve, and imitating their behaviors. Therefore, we’ve narrowed down the top eight habits of successful salespeople.
Traits Of A Highly Successful Salesperson
1. They’re Prepared
“Winging it” on the fly isn’t how salespeople succeed. It’s preparation. Preparation to the point of being the expert on the industry you’re selling in, the product you’re selling, and the other options (competition) that the buyer has. That is how you gain status and become the consultant as opposed to the pushy salesperson. Here are a few things to keep in mind about preparation:
● The pushy salesperson wants to shove a product down your throat, whether it’s the best solution for you or not, and customers can sense that in a second!
● The prepared, professional consultant knows the problems the customer is facing, they know what those problems are costing in terms of time and money, they know the strengths and weaknesses of the other options available to the customer, and of course, why their product is the best solution.
● According to the Janek Performance Group, top salespeople leverage the following tools in order to better understand their client’s needs and market.
○ Account Analysis: Consider company financials, new products or services, history of growth, and knowledge of key players.
○ Social Media: These platforms can show personalities, industry trends and client interests, while providing groups that you learn and share relevant information with.
○ Industry Reports: Research and gain insights on your client’s industry as awhole and in turn, use it to devise a sales strategy.
● WORD OF CAUTION! While you have to know everything about your industry, product, etc… you do not have to share it all with your prospects until it becomes necessary. We’ve seen countless salespeople “verbally vomit” on their prospects, spewing everything they know trying to prove how smart they are, and that just turns people off.
2. They manage their pipeline effectively
Great sales reps are good at qualifying and prioritizing which opportunities deserve attention by constantly checking their sales pipeline and closely evaluating each opportunity for a go or no-go. This ultimately means:
● Salespeople should constantly be adding to their pipeline while constantly
removing people from it too.
● Many people disagree on removing prospects, however we believe that’s the
outdated, bang them over the head, waste your time beating a dead horse
approach to sales.
● A good motto to follow is “I can deal with a “yes” or a “no” but a “maybe” wastes
everyone’s time.” Get the yes or no quickly and move on.
● Lastly, top professionals are masters at following up. 48% of salespeople don’t
even follow up once which shrinks your sales pipeline quickly. Therefore, utilizing
automation to reach out afterwards, such as email drip campaigns, can keep you
top-of-mind with prospects and increase performance.
3. Emphasize customer relationships early
While many sales reps tend to focus on the closing phase, great salespeople understand how to develop relationships with clients early. This doesn’t mean making them your best friend or kissing up to them! It means establishing a relationship of mutual trust and respect, and it’s easily done by doing two things:
● Being a prepared, respected, professional in your space.
● Caring about the potential customer and what’s best for them.
If you’re doing it right, you’re the one providing massive value to the customer! You shouldn’t have to buy them gifts, take them to lunch, or have phony conversations about their kids. All of those things are good to do if you genuinely want to do them, but you should not feel like you have to in order to get the sale.
Another way to look at it is when you walk in, the doctor is in the house. Doctors typically don’t take their patients to lunch and nor do their patients expect them to. However, there is a good, solid, professional relationship of mutual trust and respect. That’s the goal.
4. They uniquely articulate their offer
The best sales reps take time to step into the shoes of customers and understand how their offering uniquely meets the needs or desires of each specific customer.
According to a study cited by Harvard Business Review, only 54% of buyers believe that the sales reps they meet with are adept at clearly articulating how their solution impacts the buyer’s business. This goes back to the first point, being prepared and knowing your industry, product and customer.
5. They are data-driven
Too often salespeople just “throw numbers at it,” thinking volume will solve all problems. You’ve heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder?” Well, how about “work smarter and harder?”
● According to Salesforce, 57% of high performing sales teams rely on sales analytics, compared to only 16% of their underperforming counterparts.
● In fact, high performing sales organizations are, on average, 3.5 times more likely to use analytics as part of their day-to-day prospecting and selling efforts. Therefore, imagine what your results would look like if you worked harder at the things that were actually producing results and eliminating what wasn’t working for you!
6. Excellent listening skills
Great salespeople take the time to listen for underlying clues and hidden messages, seek clarification when necessary, and use prompters such as “tell me more about that” or “go on” to encourage the prospect to share information during their sales pitch.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”- Stephen Covey
We were blessed with two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. You can’t recommend the best product unless you completely and thoroughly understand the problem you’re there to solve. No shortcuts. Consider a doctor who takes time asking his or herpatient questions so they can prescribe the right treatment to make them feel better. Even if they screw up now and again, their patient wouldn’t hold it against them because they knew he/she cares about them by taking the time to really learn about their issues. Again, be the doctor!
7. Persistence in making contact and appreciating the “no”
Everybody’s busy these days. As a matter of fact, it’s been reported that it now takes up to 14 touch points to connect with senior level executives. Successful salespeople know that it takes persistence and diligence to make contact and they use a variety of strategies to achieve this goal. Then once they make contact, they’re OK with a “no” because it pays them too! Therefore, if your typical sale earns you $1,000 and you close, on average, 10% of your calls, each call is worth $100, whether it’s a yes or a no. Perspective! Now when someone says no, you say “thanks for the $100!”
8. Learning from the best and selling what you’re passionate about
Constant and never-ending improvement. There are tons of resources available to you online, in the bookstore, and people right in your own organization who can teach you what they’ve done to succeed. Take advantage of all of them! If you’re not passionate about what you’re selling and aren’t having fun doing it, you won’t succeed long term. You may have a bit of success and make some money, but life is too short to be doing something you don’t love. The beautiful thing about sales is that every industry needs you (if you’re good), so don’t settle for an inferior product, one you don’t love, horrible bosses, or bad compensation plans. Find your passion, become an expert in that field, and make a fortune helping people solve their problems with your solution!
Achieve Sales Success with iDecide
In closing, once you’ve done all of the above correctly, you should be swamped with prospects dying to have you solve their problems. Now the question becomes – how do I take care of them all and still have a life?
● At the time of this writing, the top salespeople in 89 countries use a system called iDecide to accomplish that goal by having it do the first appointment for them!
● The “choose-your-own-adventure” presentation software is a customizable and fully AI driven, interactive presentation tool that allows your prospect to choose what’s relevant to him or her. Then they can set an appointment with you right in the
presentation, so you’re only meeting with people who already know you’re the best and want to meet you!
● The magic is in the follow up! iDecides can send follow up texts/emails to the viewer after they’ve watched! This automates the follow up process and keeps you top-of-mind with prospects
● Most importantly, increase engagement, improve your credibility, free up your time, and toss aside the boring powerpoint or video. Learn more about the array of iDecide features here.
Let iDecide help you create your next sales presentation so you can close your next deal, and the one after that, and the one after that…
Learn more about iDecide at: www.iDecide.com
Mike Boccia has been in Sales and Marketing for over 25 years and really honed his skills as a licensed advisor in the financial industry. He’s been the keynote speaker at conferences and training events worldwide and is the founder and CEO of iDecide Interactive.
Mike Boccia is now an author, speaker, coach, CEO, and most importantly, a father to his 2 beautiful daughters.