Generally speaking, the majority of salespeople fall within one of the following performance-based groups:
- The Rockstars: Sales reps who consistently exceed their goals and set the standard for the entire department. This group makes up about 20% of the sales team.
- The Pack: Sales reps who meet most of their goals, but are not among the top producers. This group makes up about 60% of the sales team.
- The Underperformers: Sales reps who fail to regularly meet their target goals. This group makes up about 20% of the sales team.
As a salesperson, you may feel stuck and unable to improve enough to reach the next level, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are interested in improving your sales skills and having more success in your career, you just need to focus on the behaviors that drive results. According to a recent study, it takes around 66 days for a behavior to form a habit and dedication is key to making these new behaviors stick. Look for ways to repeatedly perform the following ten habits in your day-to-day workflow. With hard work, persistence, and a little luck they will become second-nature in no time!
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Salespeople are known to be talkers, which can turn prospects off. Nobody likes to feel like they are being lectured. Instead of aggressively selling, listen to their problems and explain how your solution can help solve them. Did you know that 77% of buyers don’t believe that salespeople understand their business and therefore can’t help them? Prospects would rather explain their problems and listen to how your company can solve them than have their ears talked off about something unrelated to their needs. This also means that you need to ask the right questions in order to guide the conversation in the direction that will lead to the best outcome for the prospect and your company.
2. Stick to your Ideal Buyer Persona
In most industries, at least 50% of sales prospects aren’t a good fit. But despite their low-potential of closing, these prospects that are a poor fit still get the same attention as higher quality prospects. While slashing your prospects in half may seem like slashing your chances in half, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s take a moment to shift into a “glass half full” mentality. Imagine the time you’ll be able to dedicate to your best prospects and how much smoother the sales cycles will be with a closer eye on key accounts. In fact, the world’s top salespeople spend the majority of their time on the right prospects, resulting in more sales and more revenue for the company.
So how do you make sure you’re talking to the right people? Many companies do market research to help narrow down the focus list of prospects within a given geography or industry. If this market research is limited at your company or you are just starting to segment, here are some key themes to keep in mind:
- Do they utilize complimentary solutions, technologies, etc.?
- Are they the right size company?
- Where are they in their decision-making process?
- Is there a specific role that your company should be talking to at the prospect?
Work with your leadership to determine the right qualifications that are important to your sales process, and then screen prospective customers for these traits before focusing your sales efforts on them.
3. Leverage Your Relationships
So you closed a deal, and now it’s time to send the customer to your success team and your job is done, right? Wrong. Closing a deal should not be the end of your involvement in the process. Happy customers are the best marketers for your company, and you should help transition them properly within your company so they have a great customer onboarding experience.
If done properly, you can then use these new customers as references to network and connect you to new prospects. In turn, you may be able to load up your pipeline with high-value prospects that have already see your product in a favorable light.
4. Know your Product
Understanding what you are selling is key! You should know your company’s offerings like the back of your hand – you are the expert! These days, clients have access to unlimited information on the web and therefore won’t be fooled by charm alone. They have likely already researched the basics on your solution on your website, so you need to dive deeper. Having a working understanding of the solution and how it can be applied at the prospect’s company helps gain trust and shows prospects your product has legitimate value. Trust is critical when selling, 90% of companies report that they only buy from companies that they trust.
5. Have a Measurable and Repeatable Sales Cadence
Going off intuition may work once or twice, but isn’t often effective in the long run. To have consistent success, optimize your process to guide prospects down the sales funnel effectively. This involves knowing the state of your pipeline at all times and what your next move will be for each client. After that, analyze your results and look for where you can improve your cadences in the future.
6. Get the Decision Makers on the Phone
Low and mid-level management might be easier to get ahold of, but they don’t usually have the authority to make the big decisions. Although they can sometimes help convince their senior leaders that they need the product, in the end, they can only help so much. You may speak to a lower level manager at first, but let them know you would like to include leadership on the next call. Does the sales leader seem very intrigued about your product? Use that excitement to encourage them to involve decision makers the next time you speak. Your original point of contact can be a great asset when moving a prospect down the funnel. Doing this can help expedite the sale, as you get to the core of their needs and budget. So focus on people who have the capital and power to make the decisions.
7. Reuse and Iterate on Effective Techniques
There is a misconception that success in sales requires that you try something new. This is not the case. Think about it, if you find a strategy that worked once, the next prospect won’t know that you’ve already used that same technique on a prior client. Find something that works and iterate on it to improve your process.
This could be your email copy when following up, the timing and language used while calling prospects or even the way you conduct demos. Experimenting too much can take valuable time away from selling and/or lead to analysis paralysis. If something doesn’t work, move on and find something that does and keep iterating on it to make it even better.
8. Personalize your Messaging
Most people you get on the phone are used to getting sold to, so they will notice if your generic messages keep coming. Instead, try talking about something that interests them to make a legitimate connection. Do you love sports and know that your client is based in Chicago? Talk to them about the Cubs! Know where your prospects are from, and use that knowledge to talk with them and connect on a more personal level. In addition, research on their company and know their mission, product, and ideals. Knowing the person you are selling to and their company well demonstrates your dedication to solving their problems. This helps remind prospects that you too are a person, one that they can trust.
9. Work Smarter not Harder
Just because you are closing the most deals, does not make you a top performer. In many industries, it’s all about quality over quantity. You could close 100 smaller deals and still not hit your sales goals. Larger deals have better payoff and meaning for your business, while also putting you closer to your goals! This goes back to sticking to your ideal buyer persona, don’t waste time on prospects that are very small or not a great fit for your solution.
Do you have a coworker that meets or surpasses their goals like clockwork? Your gut instinct may be to resent them or chalk it up to luck, but where will that get you? The age-old saying, “you learn something new every day” applies here. You may think that you know it all, but in reality, that is rarely the case. The best salespeople are always looking for ways to improve themselves, and asking team members what they do to be more effective is a great way to strengthen your skills.
Becoming a great salesperson takes hard work and dedication, but having a process built around the right behaviors can streamline your day-to-day activities and produce results.
Do you have any great advice for salespeople? Comment below!