Habits of a Good and Successful Salesperson
Many sales professionals will tell you that sales skills are a result of instinct and innate ability. You either have it or you don’t. To an extent, charisma and engaging people on a specific topic do come more easily to some than others. That being said, the skills and practices of a successful salesperson can be learned and developed by anyone.
All it takes is a commitment to establishing the most effective habits of a successful salesperson. What are those habits? Here’s a brief overview of the 20 habits of a successful salesperson to get you started.
1. Identify and be Consistent With Buyer Personas
Every effective sales process begins with effective, consistent buyer personas. Unless you know your target audience inside and out, you cannot sell effectively. Personas help you attract viable prospects and eliminate wading through a sea of leads that aren’t a good fit for your product or service. Do your homework and research what criteria strong leads share in common. Consistently focus on those leads and you will soon see results.
2. Implement a Repeatable, Measurable Sales Process
Struggling salespeople rely on instinct and intuition. Successful salespeople invest time and effort in developing an optimized sales process that converts leads to sales. Unskilled salespeople allow leads to slip away.
Skilled salespeople know every lead, deal and client in their sales funnel, where they are in the process and what comes next. Low-performing salespeople don’t track or review their sales data. High-performing salespeople are obsessive about their metrics and are always ready to make adjustments. For these reasons, it is easy to see why you need a repeatable, measurable sales process.
3. Establish Peerless Product Knowledge
Every sales representative needs to know everything there is to know about the product and/or services intimately. Product knowledge is too often overlooked when it is potentially the most important tool at a sales representative’s disposal. You can get away with fooling some people part of the time, but you can’t fool everyone all of the time.
No matter how talented you are at spinning straw into gold with your sales pitch, leads always know the difference between true knowledge and artful presentation. Trust is the most valuable commodity in business. Don’t squander it by attempting to make yourself look smarter than you are. Do the homework, put the time in and ensure you are the go-to expert for every client. This will pay massive dividends in the future.
4. Be Objective About Leads in Your Pipeline
Never overestimate your chances of successfully closing a deal because the prospect appears to like you. It’s easy to be sold on a prospect when they still aren’t sold on you. This tends to lead to “happy ears.” When a sales representative has happy ears, they only hear information that indicates a buying decision rather than hearing concerns. Review the realistic expectations based on your research and don’t get “happy ears.” This will ensure that you always have an accurate sales forecast.
5. Leverage Overlooked Shortcuts and Hacks
Once you find an effective strategy or technique that works for you, ride it until the wheels fall off. You are working against the clock every day, and you don’t have time to experiment. There’s also the risk of opportunity loss. Attempting one strategy that doesn’t work means that you have lost an opportunity to use a strategy that does. You should still be open to trying new strategies from time to time, but be selective. You only have so much time to test and evaluate results while opportunities are slipping through your fingers.
6. Develop Your Active Listening Skills
Learn to “be here now.” The best salespeople make it abundantly clear to their prospects that they are present and hearing every concern and question. Direct engagement is the key to active listening. Cultivate meaningful conversation as you speak and interact with your prospects. Active listening is often counterintuitive at first because we all possess a greater concern for what we have to say over others. Fight that instinct and show prospects you value what they have to share and the problems they are looking to solve.
7. Put the Work In
There are three kinds of sales work ethics: Type A, Type B and Type C. I’ll use a scenario as an example. It’s 5 p.m. on the last day of the sales quarter. Type B reps have left for the day, and they are off to celebrate hitting their quota. Type C reps have not hit their quarterly goal, and they are still in the office. Every one of them is frantically trying to make any last-minute sale they can to avoid falling short. Type A reps are also still in the office; however, there is a distinct difference between A and C reps.
The Type A reps have already hit their quarterly goals and possibly exceeded them. They are still at the office sending emails, making follow-up calls and building relationships with prospects. Type A reps are already setting themselves up for success in the new sales quarter because they never let the sales funnel stop. Type A reps always meet or exceed their goals because they never stop putting in the necessary time. Which type of work ethic do you have?
8. Always Follow Up
Believe it or not, the most crucial phase of any successful sales process is the follow-up after sending a proposal. So many sales reps lose money hand-over-fist because they don’t check to see if leads accessed the information they sent. They fire off email after email and expect the potential customer to come to them.
That’s an extremely ineffective and inefficient process. You need to verify that leads are getting the information you’ve sent over. Make contact to ensure that they have everything they need to make a buying decision. Don’t leave money on the table; make time to follow up.
9. Personalization Pays
Scripts are helpful for keeping a sales call on track, but they are by no means an ideal solution. Researching a prospect in advance allows successful sales reps to personalize their pitch and tailor the information presented for maximum impact. Understanding the specific pain points and objections a prospect may have in advance is critical to closing sales. A little effort and research can make all the difference when explaining why your product or service is the perfect fit.
10. Don’t Hesitate To Shadow Peers
Are you struggling with a particular skill or component of your sales process? You aren’t in this alone. Reach out to your teammates for input and advice. Identify the person in your organization who has mastered the skill that causes you to struggle. Ask to shadow them for a few sales calls to observe their techniques and strategies. This offers the greatest opportunity for improvement. Not only that, it also allows you to build stronger relationships with your teammates.
11. Never Pass Up an Opportunity To Practice People Skills
There’s an old joke perfectly analogous to this point. It goes like this: A young boy with a violin case under his arm walks up to a hot dog stand in New York City. He tugs on the sleeve of the old hot dog vendor, who turns around and regards the young man with some surprise.
“Excuse me, sir,” the little boy says. “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”
The old man rubs his jaw, looks around and then returns his gaze to the boy with the violin case. He leans over, taps the little boy’s violin case, and says:
“Practice, practice, practice.”
While this may be unfortunate for the poor kid trying to find the performing arts center, the punchline is nonetheless true. If you want to get better at any skill, you have to practice.
It doesn’t matter if it is playing the violin or making small talk. To make improvements, you simply have to use that skill over and over again until you can demonstrate it flawlessly. If you struggle with people skills as a sales rep, go where the people are and practice. Go to parties, networking events or community socials. The more often you practice, the faster you will see improvement.
12. Remember To Be a Team Player
It’s easy to glory in the pop culture stereotype of the “lone wolf” in sales. Truly skilled and highly successful salespeople know better. They understand that successful careers are built by working closely with successful sales teams. Help your team when asked, and you’ll always be able to count on them in return. This is fundamental to a long and successful sales career.
13. Know When To Walk Away
Every salesperson sometimes finds themselves investing too much time and energy into a lead or prospect that is going nowhere. Learn what the average deal length is for your sales team, and use that as a yardstick for determining when you are venturing too far with a dead-end lead.
For example, let’s say the average turnaround time for a sale is forty-five days. You have been working a lead that seems promising for nearly ninety days. If you have reached that point with a client, it’s probably time to let them go.
14. Honesty Remains the Best Policy
Telling prospects everything they want to hear to close them isn’t a viable strategy in the internet age. Don’t make promises about products or services you can’t keep. Moreover, never be afraid to tell a prospect that you don’t know something. Commit to finding out the answer and follow up. Then, make sure you keep working on product knowledge, so you don’t get blindsided in the future.
15. Solve for Customers, Not for Yourself
Upselling for your own benefit is a losing strategy long term. Offer additional services or products, but don’t oversell. Dealing fairly with every prospect and focusing on solutions to their problems all but guarantees they’ll send referrals your way.
16. Learn To Roll With Rejection
Not every deal is going to be a winner. Not every prospect you meet or connect with will like you. It comes with the territory. You should still reflect on ways to improve. Once you have finished reflecting, though, pick yourself back up and move on to the next one. Remember: Rejection is proof that you are testing limitations. Examine what worked and what didn’t. Recognize your limitations. Go out and get that next sale.
17. Remember Referrals
After you have closed a sale and processed a customer’s deal, always ask for referrals. When you make your follow-up call to ensure they are enjoying a smooth new customer experience, ask for referrals. Ask for referrals as often as you can and follow up quickly. Existing customers are an excellent source of additional revenue if you simply ask for referrals at every opportunity.
18. Maintain Your Balance
Working sales is an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. On Tuesday, you could be riding high on the success of a well-executed sale. But by Wednesday, you may feel deeply discouraged because you can’t seem to get a prospect on the phone.
Learning to balance between these highs and lows without being at the mercy of powerful emotions is critical. Learn to recognize the rush of success for what it is and stay humble. Conversely, remember that everyone has bad days. If you keep putting the work in, sales will pick up eventually. Keep your balance and consistent success will follow.
19. Don’t Hesitate To Take Breaks
The temptation to correlate activity with results can be overwhelming. The more you do, the more you should close, right? Quantity does not equal quality. This is true in sales and in life. You can send out as many emails, book as many meetings and make as many calls as you can fit into your schedule. Still, you might not immediately see the fruits of your labor.
No amount of activity guarantees success. When you are able to make quality sales calls and reach out with quality emails and messages, you will see the best results. How do you ensure the quality of your outreach work? Take breaks. Yes, working hard is important.
Sure, keeping your sales funnel full has an impact on your success. However, if you feel burnt out from an extreme outreach grind trying to get leads, you will be disappointed in the results. Taking breaks allows you to focus on quality outreach, and that directly impacts the quality of your results.
20. Make Adequate Rest a Priority
As with taking breaks, make getting sufficient sleep a priority. Working too many hours a day, eating an unhealthy diet and sleeping less than eight hours a night is a recipe for disaster. Take care of yourself first. Get adequate rest when you aren’t at work, sleep at least eight hours a night, eat nutritious food and exercise. It is truly amazing how much more productive and effective you can be when you make self-care a top priority.
The key to effective habit building is consistency: You have to practice using these techniques and strategies daily. Start small with one or two, then add more as you gain a mastery of each habit. Focus your efforts on consistency, then work on quality over time. Mastering these habits of successful salespeople to work smarter is a sure-fire way to transform your career in sales.
Are you a sales professional or sales manager looking for additional training and support for your team? Selling Revolution has the expertise and knowledge you need to transform your team into champions. Contact us today for more information.