The following comes from professional motivational speaker, US based Dirk Beverige. Here are his top 11 top sales person separators:
Clearly Defined Expectations
Is everyone under your leadership on the “same page,” or is someone marching to a different drummer? Improved productivity and performance require the clear communication of expectations. Our sales representatives should:
Know their roles and responsibilities — what they should and should not do. For example, they should let customer service representatives service while they themselves focus on consistently executing the sales function.
Understand the desired end game – what they must accomplish.
Work toward set goals and use those goals to measure their performance.
Planning and organization at the territory level are critical to sales success. Each sales representative must develop and execute a strategy that proactively addresses the dynamics and changes in his territory. Effective planning means establishing clear objectives and organizing specific sales activities into integrated yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily work plans. The sales representative should:
Develop a plan for maximizing the territory’s potential.
Follow a process that begins with an annual plan and filters down to shorter-term quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily plans.
Develop a plan for each call that includes specific objectives for that call.
Practice organizational skills that make his work both efficient and effective.
Understand The Customer’s Needs & Business
To compete at the highest levels, sales representatives must develop professional interviewing skills that establish their credibility and expertise, as well as demonstrate empathy. Additionally, they’ll use these skills to reveal the customer’s important business needs, goals, priorities and points of view. Each sales representative should:
Focus on the customer as a “market of one.”
Cultivate skills that allow him to drive a discussion around the strategies, objectives, and initiatives of his customer’s business.
Avoid dumping information, and instead, listen while the customer does most of the talking.
Cultivate skills that help him communicate effectively at all levels in the customer’s business. This includes participating in quality business discussions with those higher up in the customer’s organization chart.
Passion For The Business
Passion creates the energy and drive required to succeed over the long haul. Sales representatives with a natural enthusiasm and passion for their business need no motivation. Members of the sales team must:
View their work as more than “just a job,” love what they do and the market they’re in.
Have the work ethic to do what it takes to succeed.
Creativity & Innovation
Developing new and better solutions to customer problems requires a big dose of creativity on the part of the sales representative. Innovation and creativity hearten perseverance and spark performance breakthroughs. Our sales team must understand that:
Required solutions are not always easy to find.
The sales cycle at times may become a drawn out process. The sales representative must find ways to stay engaged and lead that process.
Create new opportunities
Some seize existing opportunities and call it a day, only to wake up the next morning in a cloud of dust left by trailblazers who have created their own fortunes from the most unlikely and overlooked places. Top-producers not only take advantage of existing opportunities, but find ways to create them as well. Our sales representatives must understand that:
Selling requires more than sustaining current business.
They must create new business not only within current accounts, but also through new accounts.
Know your company
Only by fully understanding our resources and total capabilities can we know what it is we take to market; and, as those capabilities expand, what we take to market changes! Because of this, our sales team must understand:
That selling is more than taking orders (i.e. some sales reps run to management saying they need certain products that we don’t represent).
Our capabilities – what we do well and not so well.
The suppliers we represent, our product offerings and the applications that they best address.
Our value proposition and competitive advantage.
Authors Note – This is a huge void in most distribution sales organizations. Generally speaking our sales people do not understand our capabilities and how to present them as solutions to our customer’s business needs.
Know the market
“The ability to learn faster than your competitors,” says business strategist, Arie de Geus, “may be your only sustainable competitive advantage.” Because markets and tastes change, our selling opportunities change. Our sales representatives must learn all they can about their selling environments, including:
The markets and industries in which they compete.
The strengths and weaknesses of their competitors.
Tennis champion, Venus Williams’ candidly observed, “You either improve or retire. I try to keep evolving.” Likewise, survival in today’s business climate mandates a continued evolution. “All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners looking for new skills, insights, and ideas,” says author, Denis Waitley, “If they’re not learning, they’re not growing . . . not moving toward excellence.” Our sales representatives must:
Desire continued growth and accept the support our company offers to achieve it.
Commit to continued growth (When is the last time they did something for the first time?)
Agree to after-hours development (Remember when sales meetings were held on Saturdays?)
Collaboration allows us to “huddle” with co-workers to produce greater results than we could ever achieve on our own. It’s based on the belief that early involvement, teamwork, defined responsibilities and processes can turn good ideas into dynamic solutions. Our sales representatives should demonstrate the willingness to share knowledge and expertise.
More people are watching you than you think. The University of Notre Dame Athletics Department advises participants in its sporting events to be their “best” selves because “everything we say and do (and don’t say or do) sends a message about our values.” Notre Dame describes integrity as doing what’s right even when it’s unpopular or personally costly. “By not making a wrong right, you are supporting the wrong. By inaction, you condone the behaviour. If you know the truth, speak it loud and clear. In other words, don’t hide behind the presence of officials – play as if you are refereeing the event.”
What did you think of this list? Do you agree? Disagree? Have others to add? Let me know – I look forward to your input.