Every salesperson wants to be a top achiever, but few are willing to do what it takes. Some salespeople lack the skill to succeed, others lack the will to succeed. Top-achieving salespeople have both.
From our best sales practices research, we analyzed top-achieving salespeople. These top achievers were in the top ten percent of their sales team in gross sales or profit. Over 100 salespeople from different industries participated in this study. Here are three things that separate top achievers from the rest of the pack.
Top-achievers Plan Every Sales Call
Ninety-five percent of top-achieving salespeople plan every single sales call. It’s not enough to kind-of-sort-of-know what you will do on a sales call. Planning is on paper. Planning is a skill that requires no talent, just commitment. For more information on call planning, check out my article, Answer These 6 Questions Before Every Sales Call.
Top-achievers Protect Their Business
Top achievers spend 80 percent of their time protecting and growing existing business. That means four-of- every-five sales calls is to an existing customer. In Value-Added Selling, we call this defensive selling. In offensive selling, you’re bringing prospects in the front door. In defensive selling, you’re nailing shut the back door.
When, you are planning your week, dedicate 80% of your time to defensive selling activities. For more information on defensive selling, check out this article, The Best Offense is A Good Defense.
Top-achievers Listen More Than They Talk
On a sales call, top achievers listen 60 percent of the time. They listen more than they talk. They listen deeply and intently to understand the customer and their needs. Unfortunately, most salespeople listen with the intent to respond, not understand.
You can only listen if you give yourself the opportunity to listen. Ask better questions to create these listening opportunities. Before your next sales call, develop a list of questions. For more information on the right questions, check out this article, The 7 Best Sales Questions Ever.
Legendary NFL coach and ESPN commentator, Herm Edwards, would ask his players, “Are you interested or committed?” There are plenty of players interested in winning until they realize how much commitment is required. The same is true for salespeople. There are too many salespeople interested in success until they realize the level of commitment that is required. Top achievers are committed to being sales professionals. They make it a habit to do the things that others can’t or won’t.
Paul Reilly is president of Reilly Sales Training, a St. Louis-based, privately-owned company that specializes in training sales professionals, sales managers and service professionals. Call Paul at 636-778-0175 or email Paul@ReillySalesTraining.com.