What can we learn from the best sales people
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Do great B2B sales people, regardless of what they sell, have
practices in common? In other words, do the best sales people
all sell the same way?
A number of years ago, a professional association attempted to answer
that question. They studied superstar sales people from a
wide variety of industries and concluded: Yes!
In fact, the best sales people excel at the same things. Here
are the top five practices of the very best sales people:
They see the situation from the
customer’s point of view.
They ask better questions.
They listen more constructively.
They are obsessed with time management.
They do bigger deals.
Let’s look at the relationship among these items to see if there are
any lessons for us.
“They do bigger deals.” That is both the result of their work
(that is, after all, why they are the best sales people) as well as
their focus from the beginning. They start with an understanding that
it is their job to bring revenue into the company, and that the more
revenue they bring in, the more valuable they are to their companies
and the more successful they become. And this realization
leads them to what becomes an obsession.
“They are obsessed with time management.” That means that
they intentionally and methodically strive to make the best use of
their sales time by focusing the bulk of their efforts on the
highest-potential opportunities and customers. You won’t find
them running an errand for a “C” customer just to be a nice guy.
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In my book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, I make the point
that this practice – investing in the highest potential prospects and
customers – trumps all other sales practices. If you are a
great presenter, for example, and wonderful at closing the sale, your
skills will be squandered if they are not exercised with the right
And what do the best sales people do with the time they invest in the
highest-potential customers? “Ask better questions,” and
“listen more constructively.” Amazing. These two
fundamental communication skills are, perhaps, the earliest
communication skills we learn. Yet, the best take these
foundational skills and execute them better. And since they excel at
these two fundamentals, they naturally gain a better understanding of
the “customer’s point of view.” Equipped with that
competitive advantage, they formulate creative proposals that lead them
back to where they started: bigger deals.
This should be immensely encouraging to sales people. Unlike
the promotional messages from legions of sales trainers and authors,
the reality is that there are no “secrets” in sales. Success
comes not from hidden strategies and mysterious tactics, but rather
from the excellent execution of the essentials.
The best sales people execute the most fundamental skills with
excellence. And, since we can all do the things the best do,
we can, if we choose, strive to do them better. And, if we strive to do
them better, at some point we will arrive at the same place they are: a
master sales person.
In other words, there is a path to sales mastery, and we can all follow
it, if we choose.
It begins with our mind-set. We need to see ourselves as
professional sales people, whose job it is to bring revenue into the
company. That sounds so simple and so basic, yet legions of
sales people are loath to consider themselves sales people.They are
account executives, sales facilitators, mobile customer service
representatives, etc. Some consider themselves to be
exclusively the advocates for the customer and hand out discounts and
concessions to anyone and everyone.
Since they don’t see themselves as professional sales people, they
don’t invest in improving their sales skills. They don’t
understand that their behavior creates a reciprocal reaction on the
part of the customer. The sales person’s actions create reactions on
the part of the customer. If they want more profitable actions from the
customer, they need to improve their actions.
Once we have the mind-set of the professional sales person, we slowly
begin to gravitate toward the opportunities and customers that hold the
greatest potential. We understand that we only have a small
and limited quantity of sales time, and that we must invest it, with a
cold-blooded business attitude, in those situations that will bring the
greatest reward. In short, effective time management becomes
a daily obsession.
Now, since we are interacting more frequently with the highest
potential customers and prospects, we focus on excelling at the most
fundamental communication skill: asking better questions and
listening more constructively. Armed with these two
fundamental and powerful communication devices, we strive for continued
improvement and constant development.
With this as a path, sales mastery is an achievable goal for every
committed sales person.
As the best have taught us, there is a path to sales mastery,
travels through excellent execution of the essentials.
About the Author
Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and eight countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. Check out our Sales Resource Center for 455 sales training programs for every sales person at every level.
You may contact Dave at The DaCo Corporation, PO Box 523, Comstock Park, MI 49321, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-05-25 13:07:10 in Marketing Articles