This challenging year has further exposed who the top-producing sales professionals are vis-à-vis everyone else. Anyone who wants to improve their selling effectiveness would be wise to emulate the most elite sales professionals.
As someone who has provided sales-development services for more than 600 companies, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a lot of salespeople at work. Regardless of industry and geographic location, certain things endure: top producers share common characteristics and behaviors.
I like to call them “sales success factors,” and they hold true in both good times and in bad.
Characteristics of Top Producers
- They are highly goal-oriented and monitor progress throughout the year.
- They are obsessed with prospecting and disciplined to do it every day.
- They have balanced personalities: Assertive and competitive but not aggressive or passive. In other words, they have a desire to win but still put clients’ interests first.
- They tend to be more ethical than mid-level and under-performing reps. This one might surprise some people, but unethical behavior will eventually bring down an otherwise successful sales practitioner.
- They are always curious and have amassed extensive knowledge of their local, territory and/or industry marketplaces. They have deep product knowledge. They have most key things memorized, but if they’re asked something they don’t know, they can find the answer immediately.
- They build and maintain relationships with a large, diverse group of people to whom they go for business opportunities, referrals and insider information.
- They are organized in both their personal and professional lives. They have a system of good habits. They treat their time like it’s a precious resource.
- The have the mindset of success: quickly accept responsibility for their mistakes and graciously accept credit for their successes. They tend to be me more optimistic than pessimistic.
- They are unapologetic/unashamed about working in sales and believe that selling is a critically important function in the overall success of the economy. They are proud of what they do for a living.
- They’re not afraid to call the question. When it’s time to close the deal, they don’t hesitate. They get it done.
As you read through the above list, how do you see yourself? How many of these 10 success factors describe you? If you are the leader of a sales team, how many of your reps possess most of the characteristics?
If any of the characteristics are weaknesses for you, now is the time to work on those deficiencies. It’s never too late to develop better skills, habits and behaviors. After all, there’s more room at the top than most people think.