At some period, you’ve probably questioned what the top-performing people on your team have in common. Their personal selling styles may vary, but it’s no fluke that their names are always at the head of the leaderboard.
To produce similar outcomes, you’ll need to understand what makes them different. Check out these traits that salespeople who consistently outperform their peers have.
What Makes a Prosperous Sales Agent?
1. They retain a level head
You’ll seldom see a top-performing agent speak too hastily or lose their calm. Staying composed is an unconscious reliability booster. Also, it assists salespeople to evade saying things they’ll later repent.
Maybe your prospect demands a customer reference or trial extension. Immediately responding — other than delaying for a time — makes you more prone to say things like, “Sure, we can do that!” instead of, “Can you walk me through how that’ll help your decision-making process?”
Being even-keeled is essential during negotiations as well, since getting flustered makes it difficult to think strategically. Also, customers may get more hostile when they notice your composure slipping off.
2. They don’t get self-conscious
Do you have a tough time recognizing the last time you got flustered? That’s a good indication. A study of more than 1,000 successful salespeople found that fewer than 5% were self-conscious.
“The byproduct of a high level of self-consciousness is bashfulness and inhibition,” explains Steve W. Martin, author of the study and sales strategy professor at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Not being self-conscious means you’re not nervous to take risks and persistently pursue deals. It also means you’re more likely to jump back from rejection or failure, because you’ll see these experiences as possibilities to learn and improve rather than signs you’re not cut out for sales. This resiliency will help you master the inevitable hard times.
Lastly, self-assurance comes into play when you’re using the Challenger Sales methodology. Pushing back on the client and focusing on the end goal rather than being liked takes a lot of confidence.
3. They’re intentional with their time
For agents, time and energy are precious. That’s why the most efficient salesperson treats every duty like an investment: “If I put X in, will I get at least Y in return?”
This analysis helps them differentiate between high-reward activities and low-reward ones. For example, an agent isn’t going to spend time working with a prospect who’s a bad fit — it’s a waste of time for everyone involved.
However, she’ll definitely spend some time investigating a potential client who fits her buyer persona to a tee, since this activity is much likelier to pay off long-term.
Top agents also save time by automating repetitious tasks. After all, every hour they spend logging calls, copying and pasting emails, and scheduling follow-ups is an hour they could’ve spent selling.
The normal salesperson spends only two hours per day on revenue-generating projects. Meanwhile, the leading performers spend over six hours per day on these tasks.
4. They understand the entire industry
Good reps are well-versed in their product, including its features, functions, and applications. Great reps take their knowledge one step more: They understand every aspect of their prospects’ businesses, from the industry down to their daily duties.
Having industry expertise makes salespeople much more relevant. They don’t just educate their buyers about the product — they can provide help and direction with many aspects of the business.
Right now, being an expert in your space is a competitive edge. But Harvard Business School professor and former HubSpot CRO Mark Roberge points out that in the future it’ll be necessary for survival.
Thanks to the web, most people aren’t reliant on salespeople for basic knowledge. Your prospects must want to work with you — which means providing unparalleled value as a consultant is crucial.
5. They’re always learning
If you’re reaching your quota, it’s attractive to consider your training days are finished. But in fact, the greatest salespeople are the most focused on learning new things.
After all, you can’t reach meaningful career growth without sharpening your skills or acquiring new knowledge and methods. And learning literally pays off: Employees produce 50% higher net sales when they work at companies with continuous sales training.
Plus, sales itself is evolving. Strategies that worked 10 years ago probably won’t be effective today — and strategies that worked 20 years ago will totally flop. You can’t call people out of thin air and nurture prospects by taking them golfing: cold calling has a 1-3% success rate for earning an initial meeting, and prospects are now looking for unique insights into their business strategy rather than several free rounds.
If you don’t adjust your pace to match the beat of the modern buyer’s drum, you won’t be able to work with them.
Now that you know what it takes to be the best, figure out which traits you already possess and where you could improve. With hard work and focus, you can become one of — if not the — best rep on your team.
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