What’s the secret for achieving sales success?
At Performance Based Results, we interviewed 400 highly experienced business-to-business sales professionals and identified eight qualities you need to look for in coaching a current sales rep or hiring a new candidate, to achieve maximum sales results.
Here’s the list.
1. Be persistent in sales without being pushy
I call it creative persistence. There’s a fine line between persistence and pushiness, and a smart sales professional knows how to toe that line.
When good salespeople meet an obstacle — unreturned phone calls, no response to emails or texts — they don’t give up. But they don’t make pests of themselves, either. Such a person will find ways to reconnect before that opportunity withers away.
It’s not just a matter of leaving call after call in his contact’s voicemail. In order to connect, he’ll try new tactics such as engaging the “gatekeeper,” the executive assistant or a fellow sales rep within the organization. He may even show up in person at unconventional times during business hours — like super early, before work starts, or right at closing time — or even send a text on a Saturday morning.
When great salespeople reach a sales stall, they approach the situation from a new angle. For example, one salesperson was trying to reach an organization’s VP of sales for weeks, with no response. So he bought some green notepad paper, took out his Sharpie, and made it to look just like a $100 bill and wrote a note to the VP reading, “Let’s turn this into real money for you and your sales team!” He crumpled it up, threw it into an oversized envelope, and mailed it to him. The client got a laugh and actually called him back that day. They set up a one-on-one business meeting, got an excellent dialogue going — and in little time, he won the account. For achieving sales success — be creatively persistent.
2. Be passionate about what you’re selling
Persistence and passion typically go hand in hand. A good salesperson is passionate — that is, he truly believes in his solution. He’s hungry, motivated and competitive.
This sales rep is a doer, not just a talker. He doesn’t blame the current economic climate, or a competitor’s lower pricing, or waste time whining about possible weaknesses in his product compared to the competition.
He’s got great ideas, and they’re measurable by the number and quality of his activities. Passionate salespeople, when achieving sales success, create their own opportunities instead of waiting around for them!
3. Build new business relationships
The key is for salespeople to actively prospect new business relationships rather than limiting their sales efforts to a dwindling customer base. There’s a fine line to know when to nurture a present client or seek out new business.
Leveraging and strengthening an existing customer base is important, to be sure, but it’s all too easy to become complacent and keep calling on the same customers.
Sometimes the relationship has run its course. In today’s ever-changing business climate, a salesperson’s timing might be off. A once-promising customer may now be in dire straits, possibly due to mergers and downsizing. He’s better off investing his time and efforts on fresh new opportunities. Good salespeople are always looking to develop new business relationships, not waiting until their current well runs dry.
Successful salespeople don’t go into a call or meeting without conducting research in advance and developing a strategy. (Photo: iStock)
4. Do Your Research Before the Call
Great sales people always bring value on every call. They research, plan and strategize their key accounts. Many sales reps, during a sales call, have a tendency to overwhelm a prospect by reciting sales capabilities that may (or may not) have any relevance to what the customer is looking for. I refer to this technique as “show up and throw up.” News Flash: It doesn’t work.