What makes a ‘top’ performer?
It is an interesting question and at first glance it would be easy to provide a list of “How to Sell” type answers but you will be able to source great answers to this type of question fairly easily so I will do better.
What you won’t find as easily (I suspect) is an answer to the underlying question in yours .. Just what do top sales performers do differently?
I had reason to spefically research this several years when creating our latest product, Sentia (and I apologize but the sales person in me can’t enter this link without also adding encouraging anyone to contact me directly if you would like a demo).
Llet me share what I think you really want to know.
There actually are several practises that the best of the best do that makes the difference between a good sales professional and a real superstar.
In my experience, a very small number of sales people do these intuitively – that said if you do the same you will get an enormous uplift in your sales outcomes.
a. They are always, and I mean always, focusing on the most valuable activity they can do at that moment.
One of the top sales generators in a $10b turnover IT business that I collaborated with on a project a couple of years ago would spend 60 to 90 minutes every morning (before work, not at work) planning out what he could do that day and in what order to make the most money.
This meant listing in his diary (yes a paper diary) which prospects he was most likely to progress forward with that day, how much time this would take in the day, what each were potentially worth to him and so which of these were likely to generate him more potential return on his time that day.
He then also checked which of his existing accounts he thought he could make some headway with that day in terms of growing share of business etc, how much time this was likely to take & what his time spent/$ reward ratio like.
He then scheduled his day accordingly knowing why he was doing what he was doing that day in terms of an actual dollar value.
It took him additional time each day; but he was generously rewarded for this time and he always knew what an action was going to ‘cost’ him in time and what it would likely ‘make’ for him and could tell you clearly why he focused on what he did focus on each day.
b. They make everyone of their prospects & accounts feel as important as any another
Despite everything mentioned above, no matter which of their prospects or accounts they were enjoying a contact with at that time they treated them all the same.
Despite being so ‘mercenary’ in decisions about how they would choose to spend their time each day, each and every prospect or account was given the level of attention that (usually) exceeded that they received from other sales professionals (his competitors).
And they did see each of these contact moments as enjoyable.
Knowing that each of these prospects and accounts could in some way generate more cash for them in the future they looked forward to these interactions, behaved that way and provided a level of service that would delight any of us .. regardless of the size of the opportunity.
c. b. No prospect or account was forgotten or neglected
Similar to the point above but subtly different, they set in place systems that ensured that no prospect, no account, no matter how large or small was ever forgotten or overlooked.
I can list hundreds of occasions where I have gone beyond the line of duty to assist a prospect or acquantance in business that I never imagined would generate a return for me, then to find that through some previously unknown connection additional business flows to me.
It is always easy to forget to reach out to a small lead, send a first piece of information and neglect to follow up, or simply choose to ignore what appears to be a lead with little value but the ‘top’ performers seem to find time to always do this.
How many of us religiously reach out to someone who asked for a quote or proposal 9 months after receiving a ‘no’ when the lead must be coming up for a fresh look?
How many of us follow an old lead’s career to be certain of which company they may move to next?
Top performers tend to be completely across all of this type of detail.
These traits and a couple more we learnt we built in to our product, Sentia, to allow just about any salesperson to replicate this type of success. Rather than do a heavy promotion of my product here which would not be appriopriate, hopefully this gives you a flavor of how top performers actually become these top performers and how you can also.