Just what do top sales performers really do differently to the pack?

Have you ever considered what traits make a ‘super’ sales performer?

Everyone wants their teams to sell more. So how can they reproduce the performance of the real sales stars out there?

It is an interesting question and at first glance it would be easy to provide a list of “How to Sell” type answers but you will be able to source great answers to this type of question fairly easily on multiple sites. That information won’t really help you at all.

What you won’t find as easily (I suspect), is an answer to the key question .. Just what do top sales performers do differently from their colleagues? We all realize that there are super sales people out there – just what are their secrets?

I had reason to research this myself several years ago. I was operating a sales agency that recruited, trained, deployed and managed 40+ separate sales teams representing numerous household brands across a handful of categories. Each team had around 20 – 25 members – so we had approximately 1000 sales staff in the field.

When these 40+ sales teams (that we operated for our clients) sold well, our business flourished. Our commercial success relied on generating real, measurable sales growth. We really wanted to know how all of the members of our teams could become super sales people. Our success depended on it.

This research, (into what are the habits of super sales people), led us to create our latest product, Sentia VDA. In essence we created an application, that when installed onto existing CRMs, allows all of your sales team to mimic the habits of these ‘super’ sales people. And the outcomes for you when they do this are enormous.

But enough about us.

So what were they – these habits?

Let me share what we learnt from studying this group of ‘super’ sales people and examining what they all seemed to do differently from the rest each and every day.

Key Trait 1. They are always, and I mean always, focusing on the most valuable activity they can do right at that moment throughout each day.

For example, one of the top sales generators in a $10b turnover IT business that I collaborated with on a project a couple of years ago would spend 60 to 90 minutes every morning (before work, not at work) planning out what he should focus on that day and in what order to make the most money.

This meant listing in his diary, (yes a paper diary), which prospects & accounts he was most likely to progress with that day, how much time this would take in the day, what each were potentially worth to him and so which of these were likely to generate him more potential return on his time that day.

He then also checked which of his existing accounts he thought he could make some headway with that day in terms of growing share of business etc, how much time this was likely to take & what his time spent/$ reward ratio like.

He then scheduled his day accordingly knowing why he was doing what he was doing that day in terms of an actual dollar value.

It took him additional time each day before breakfast; but he was generously rewarded for this time and he always knew what an action was going to ‘cost’ him in time, what it would likely ‘make’ for him and he could tell you clearly why he focused on what he did focus on each and every day.

This ability or habit, of determining exactly what their focus should be throughout each day and what order they should hit their actions to generate the most success was common to all of the super performers.

When they still had to devote time to non productive tasks, they knew exactly what this was costing them each week and would schedule these things accordingly e.g. if they could, they would relegate these to times when they weren’t able to sell anyway (after hours/weekends).

In summary, they are always working on the most valuable activities that they have and by moving this planning/preparation time and non productive tasks to outside of work hours they effectively triple their available selling time.

This is an enormously powerful combination.

This can be compared to a ‘typical’ sales resource where maybe 36% at best of their time is spent selling. (Source : SFDC)

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Key Trait 2. They valued every contact they had – they would make everyone of their prospects & accounts feel as important as any another regardless of the immediate financial value to them.

Despite everything mentioned above, no matter which of their prospects or accounts they were enjoying a contact with at that time they treated them all the same.

Despite being so ‘mercenary’ in decisions about how they would choose to spend their time each day, each and every prospect or account was given the level of attention that (usually) exceeded that they received from other sales professionals (their competitors).

And they did see each of these contact moments as enjoyable.

Knowing that each of these prospects and accounts could (potentially) in some way generate more cash for them in the future they looked forward to these interactions, behaved that way and provided a level of service that would delight any of us .. regardless of the size of the opportunity.

Key Trait 3. No prospect or account was ever forgotten or neglected

Similar to the point above but subtly different, they set in place systems that ensured that no prospect, no account, no matter how large or small was ever forgotten or overlooked.

I myself can list hundreds of occasions where I have gone beyond the line of duty to assist a prospect or acquaintance in business that I never imagined would generate a return for me, then to find that through some previously unknown connection additional business flows to me.

It is always easy to forget to reach out to what may be a small lead, send that first piece of information and neglect to follow up, or simply choose to ignore what appears to be a lead with little value but the ‘top’ performers always seem to find time to do this.

How many of us religiously reach out to someone who asked for a quote or proposal 9 months after receiving a ‘no’ when the lead must be coming up for a fresh look at vendors?

How many of us follow an old lead’s career to be certain of which company they may have moved to next?

So how do you replicate this across your teams?

The challenge for all of us is to be to engender these same practices in our team.

  1. Always focusing on the most valuable activity they can do right at that moment and move other tasks out of work hours.
  2. Valuing every contact, making every prospect or account feel as important as any another regardless of their specific value to them at that time.
  3. No prospect or account ever forgotten or neglected to be followed up.

These traits and a couple more we learned about we built in to our automation powerhouse, Sentia VDA, to allow just about any salesperson to replicate these habits and this type of success.

We can assist you to supercharge your team. Let us review your current processes, automate these as completely as possible, introduce our technology on to your current CRM and then ensure that this is all deployed to your team to drive adoption.