Sometimes you have to step back and wonder what it is that makes those remarkably successful salespeople just so remarkable and so successful. I’m sure I don't have the formula nailed – but there are six things that I have seen enough times to suggest to me that they make a real difference. This is only my perspective, and I’m sure it is incomplete, but here we go anyway.
No one is perfect, and we all screw up sometimes. The difference between the ultra-successful and others is how they view their mistakes in the first place and then how they respond. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not pushing yourself hard enough, and the mistakes you make should inform your future. Super successful sales people learn from the experience – figure out why they did not win that deal, or why they lost a customer – and they don’t make the same mistake a second time. Super successful sales people know that all of your past is education that you can learn from. Oh, and by the way, they rarely blame others for their mistakes.
There is nothing worse than having someone commit to doing something for you and then not do it. You think it’s covered and then it’s not. Better to know that it’s not covered in the first place, because then you can do something about it yourself.
Phrases like “You will have it first thing in the morning”, “I will take care of it”, or “Just give me a few days to get back to you” may all be well-meaning when they are said; but unless the person follows through, then all that has happened is that you have been delayed, slowed down and inevitable frustrated.
(Perceived) Quality = Performance - Expectation
Super successful salespeople know this. Rather than commit to something they can't deliver on, they will say no gracefully. “Realistically that is not something I can help you with in the next two weeks”, usually followed by “but if you can’t get it solved by then, come back to me and I might have time then”, or “I’ve seen Henry in the Denver office deal with something similar, you might check to see if he has time to help”
Super successful are really good at saying no. They know that it enables them to focus on doing what they need to do and not disappoint others by over-committing.
It is very easy to get sucked into the mindless trivia of everyday work. Whether it is ‘staying on top of email’, attending internal meetings, calling a customer just to have a catch-up call – with no purpose to the call or value added to the customer, these things can eat up your day. It’s easy to spend the whole day in busy work.
Sometimes we are afraid that to act – and we can be scared of what we can't change, or what other people will think, and then we stop taking bold actions. And then we pause – we don't move forward.
Super successful salespeople don't hold back. They focus on what they have been planning and get started on it today. They think about what will ‘move the needle’ for them and their customers, and then they do something that matters.
While many of us focus on what we do, super-successful people think a lot about why they do it. Their choices are rarely influenced by a need to conform, fit in or do it ‘the usual way’. It doesn't mean that they disregard the experience of others or the conventional wisdom. They learn from these – but as they driven by an inner desire to make things better for their customers, their colleagues, and themselves. They look for innovative ideas, new ways and different approaches, and then choose their own path. (When we started our journey to Smart Sales Transformation 10 years ago, it was driven by a desire to make the world better for sales people. That was the ‘why’. It was definitely the road less traveled – and now our customers are really happy we chose that un-trodden path.
And I mean really well. That means they don't interrupt. It means they think about what you are saying rather than waiting to say what’s next on their mind. It means they wait to make sure you have completed your full thought sequence before they interject with their thoughts. They leave spaces at the end of their sentences to let you comment, think about what they said and respond. They want you to know that what you are saying is important, and the only way to do that is to listen hard. I bet you’ve found yourself struck by the fact that someone remembered a fact or something you said in a previous encounter. As a customer you can be really impressed if they have taken the time to align their solutions with your really business issues. It almost seems like they were really listening to you. It seems like they care. Successful salespeople are really good at that.
It’s a choice. You know that. Even though you are very busy you know that you can choose to be on time. It shows that you respect the other person’s time. It means that you don't think you are more important that they are. When you are late, people rightly feel aggrieved. In some cases they can be resentful, but it is never a good way to build a great mutually respectful relationship.
Being on time – for a personal dinner with your family, for a business meeting with your colleagues, with a weekly report you’re supposed to send on a Friday, providing the project update you promised to the customer on Tuesday – is a choice. You get to decide if you are going to be on time, and if you respect the people you are meeting with enough to grant them the small courtesy of punctuality.
Super successful people allow themselves a little time to allow themselves to be punctual. When you meet them they are calm, creative, engaged and focused on you. It matters.
Author of Amazon #1 Best-Seller Account Planning in Salesforce, Donal Daly is CEO and Founder of (his fifth global business enterprise) The TAS Group, the global leader in Smart Sales Transformation. Combining his expertise in enterprise software applications, artificial intelligence, and sales methodology, he continues to revolutionize the sales effectiveness industry. Feel free to download The TAS Group's latest publication, Battling the 57%: Deconstructing the Buyer Seller Dance.
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