By Jeff Beals
In last week’s article, we discussed the characteristics of top producers, exploring what characteristics, or “success factors,” were common among the top 10 and 20 percent of sales professionals.
This week, we dig into the details and examine the behaviors and actions of elite sales practitioners:
Networking – Top producers believe in creating their own leads instead of sitting around waiting for the marketing department to generate leads. One of the ways you do that is by getting out of the office and getting in front of prospects. This is especially important if you have a geographically concentrated territory (such as one metro area) or you regularly attend events that are populated with your prospects. Try to have a minimum number of events per month as a goal.
Prospecting calls – The best sales pros make a minimum number of calls each week without exception even when they’re busy closing current sales. They also make “one more call,” which means even when they’re tired and want to go home, they muster the energy to make at least one more call.
Industry relationships and intelligence gathering – Top producers realize that information is power. They study the market and constantly have their ear to the grape vine searching for rumors and insider information. Keep your friends close and your competitors even closer!
Social media – Top producers to not depend on social media as a prospecting tool. Instead, they use social media to support their prospecting efforts. While social media will never be as effective as calling prospects on the phone, it does help you with lead generation, personal branding and thought leadership. Max out your LinkedIn profile, create and post interesting information that is of value to your prospects and build a large group of contacts/connections. Social media is not the panacea that too many sales pros wish it to be but it’s still a useful tool.
Time blocking and time management – If you want to be in the top 10 percent of sales pros, it takes organization and discipline. I recommend you literally block out time on your calendar each week to make prospecting calls. Be rigid about this and don’t let any other activity take over your reserved prospecting time. You also need discipline and attention to detail.
Client communication – Top producers don’t leave their prospects hanging and wondering what’s going on. If you don’t communicate with them, even when there’s not much good news to report, you’re leaving your prospects vulnerable for poaching by your competitors. An old rule of thumb: “If you think you’re communicating too much, you’re probably not.”
High responsiveness – Elite sales practitioners are highly responsive. No leads fall through the cracks. Each lead is treated like an instant-win, scratch-off lottery ticket. Calls are returned much faster than 24 hours.
Staying front of mind – Top producers make it hard for people to forget them. They stay in front of people, because they never know when a person might need them. They congratulate people on successes, recognize people in the news with hand-written notes, and send links to articles that they think a certain person might enjoy reading.
A closer’s mentality – Ultimately, top producers know that all their efforts are designed to lead to closed deals and cashed commission checks. When the time is right, they ask for the business, call the question and close the deal. Additionally, they have strong negotiation skills and don’t give into to price-reduction requests.
Work-life balance – Because they want to stay on top of their game, top producers must also reserve time for fun. In fact, many elite sales reps tend to “play hard” but not so hard that they harm reputations or compromise their ability to do great work.
Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide. He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.
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