In January I wrote a blog about the Secrets of Successful Sales Leaders. Lots of people liked it, but several asked if I’d follow up and identify the traits of successful sales people. Some wanted to know so they could improve themselves or their teams. Many others said, after failed attempts at hiring quality sales people, they’d like to start getting it right.
I’d love to say there is a neat behavioral assessment, like the DISC or MBTI profiles, that an employer can use to predict success, but in my experience, there really isn’t. In fact, I remember well the time my firm gave a behavioral assessment exam to the top 4 producers in the company, thinking that once we captured the profile, we could easily just go hire more of same. Great idea that proved wrong; all 4 came back with widely different results. No mold to follow.
So, instead, I offer what great sales people KNOW and live by.
- Care about the customer more than yourself.
- The job is really about finding solutions to customer’s problems, not about making sales. Do the former and the latter will follow.
- Ask questions, and actually listen to the answer, to uncover opportunity.
- Only promise what you can realistically deliver and then do it. Consistently.
- Trust is earned and there’s just no shortcut for that.
- Build relationships before there is a deal opportunity; rarely does anyone buy from someone they don’t already know, like and trust.
- Hold only yourself accountable for results.
- Do business with the client the way the client wants to do business.
- Get good at disqualifying prospects.
- Procrastination is the enemy, so use activity metrics to keep yourself honest.
- Be your authentic self; the client’s B.S. meter is strong and merciless.
- A hidden challenge is the prospect’s propensity for keeping the status quo.
- Understand and respect the sales cycle. Attempt to collapse the time line, but don’t try to skip the steps.
- The prospect is always thinking “why you?” and “so what?” Let that inform your reach outs and conversations.
- You must make allies throughout the client’s organization, not just the individual buyer of your services, because influencers lurk and can kill a deal.
- Write down your goals and read them daily.
- Be constantly learning, hungry for knowledge that will boost your skills, no matter how experienced you are how many years you’ve been doing the job.
Much of this can be taught, but the sales person must already be curious, self-motivated, able to accept rejection, and unafraid of risk in exchange for reward. If you’d like to know how you interview for these skills, please give me a call. I’d be delighted to discuss what has worked for me.
What more can you add to this list? Please add your comments so we can all continue to learn.| Categories: B2B Sales Strategy, Blog, Culture, Growth, Leadership
Tags: B2B sales, business development, expert sales, prospecting, revenue generation, revenue growth, sales professionals