A great deal of research has gone into what makes a good salesperson. A notable instance told by Brian Tracy in his Advanced Selling Strategies is the difference between the average salespeople and the rockstar sales guys in most large sales forces. How much do you think that the top 20% of salespeople were selling when compared to others? Twice as much? Five times? Ten?
The right answer is that they sold sixteen times more than the rest.
Were these people geniuses? Were they extremely charismatic? To tell you the truth then no they weren’t. If you just looked at them, you couldn’t tell the difference between them and the worst performers. Yet it turned out that these people had three things in common. They had all laid a strong foundation with the three pillars of sales success - clarity, will and ability.
So here are the questions that lay the bedrock of becoming a sales superstar.
Have you set the right kind of goals?
You as a salesman can’t influence your results – I mean you can say you want 50 deals by the end of the month, but at the end of the day you don’t, strictly said, control the purchases your potential clients make.
What you can do is set yourself activity goals. This means setting yourself a number of approaches, calls and meetings you want to make every day or week. Knowing fully well that to a large extent sales is a numbers game, you can drive your productivity and not let your confidence drop – the more conversations you put into one end of the pipeline, the more closed deals will come out from the other. While the less successful may want good results as much as the more successful ones, the success will find the ones who are already out there putting in action.
Sure, you’ll reach the optimum at one point. What’s important though is the journey there – you will learn a great deal about hard and smart work whilst striving towards that optimum. Once you reach that, you’ll start learning about the balance between hard and smart work. The difference between average and rockstar salespeople is, however, that the best put in the hours to learn what smart work is and the average don’t. So keep on pushing until you hit your optimum and be clear about your goals to achieve that first pillar of sales success.
When we first started building Pipedrive, we realized that knowing the amount of “No’s” you need to get before you reach a “Yes” can give you a psychological edge – suddenly you’re no longer fazed by rejection. So we went on a small detour and created the NO Calculator.
Have you got a good “why”?
What drives you as a salesman? For many it’s the paycheck they receive at the end of the month. For some it’s somewhat deeper, like providing for their loved ones. I’ve found that finding a deep-rooted answer for the ‘why’ helps you keep on going. But then there’s courage that in the sales context means the desire of putting yourself out there – the willingness to fail over and over again in order to succeed. You’re always going to get declining answers, but the trait that all good salesman share is the courage to make that fearful step again, again and again, knowing full well that there are going to be plenty of “no’s” on their way to a “yes”. Reason and courage in a unison form the second pillar of sales success - will.
Have you mastered the basics?
There’s no shortcut to sales success. The best salespeople simply have their basics honed to perfection – they know which leads to qualify, they have a response to nearly every client reaction and they know every closing tactic in the book. This is something every salesman can achieve – it’s just a matter of putting the time in to learn and practice. Discipline, the second facet to ability, essentially means organizing your work. By setting time aside for prospecting every day, by making sure you follow up the right leads at the right time, that’s how you never miss an opportunity again. The best salespeople know when to follow up on their leads and move them along their sales pipeline. So there you go – skill and discipline – that’s ability, the third and final pillar to sales success.
Can you change your ways?
One of the three will not be enough. You might have great skills and clear goals, but if you lack drive, you won’t make it. You might have great aspirations and a bucketful of will, but if you don’t persevere and have a routine, you’re not going to cut it.’
The same goes for the status quo. Whatever brought you success today, you’re going to need to adjust tomorrow to adapt to the changed surroundings. Sales, like everything else, is multidimensional and you have to deal with every single facet.
Now go close.