Imagine you are seated at a table with a full array of accessories to build the perfect salesperson. Each accessory represents a different skill, or personality trait, that applies directly to success in sales. You are then asked to select all the pieces necessary to build the ideal salesperson. What traits would top your list? Using our experience in B2B sales, performance reviews of over 300 sales individuals and expert references, we’ve compiled a proven list of the building blocks that create top sellers.
1. Customer Focus
The amount of time you commit to engaging with customers on a weekly basis can greatly affect customer satisfaction and retention. Understanding that you have limited hours in a week, giving increased attention to a smaller network of customers versus limited attention to a wider pool continues to bear results of increased performance.
This Harvard Business Review article supports this tactic stating, “top performers spend up to 33% more time with customers per week which, depending on the company, is typically 2-4 additional hours of time.” We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a great byproduct of increased attention, referrals. As you create a reputation for reliable, personally tailored communication with your core client base, you’ll begin to realize a direct increase in their willingness to refer you to new prospects.
2. Be Your Own Assistant
This may seem obvious but generating, and religiously following, a defined block schedule can greatly improve your ability to serve your customers while allowing time to follow up on new leads. Block scheduling is comprised of a week long plan that includes both personal and professional activities.
Most block schedules are segmented hourly, but we suggest taking it one step further and breaking down your days by half hour or fifteen minute intervals. Sitting down prior to a given week and outlining your tasks allows you to better dedicate time to core activities such as personal development, customer satisfaction inquiries, following leads and recreation to maintain needed work-life balance.
Interested in more scheduling resources? Dive into this Entrepreneur article on 7 Tips for Managing Your Schedule Like a Pro.
3. Sell with Grace, Relatability and Curiosity
The over-confident, full of Bravado archetype of a salesperson that appears in movies and on television is actually far from what resonates with today’s customers. In another study by Harvard Business Review, research from Steve W. Martin, author of Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology, found 91% of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Salespeople brimming with bravado tend to alienate far more customers than they win over.
Having a grounded sense of self is truly invaluable, but equally important is teaching yourself to engage with curiosity. The same study revealed that 82% of top performers scored extremely high in their hunger for knowledge and information.
Whether it’s your first call with a potential lead or an annual check up with an established account, the purpose of your communications is typically to identify the customers’ needs and how you can address them. Being overly curious and not assuming you know their business pain points allows you to address the difficult questions and identify core information that will improve the longevity of the relationship.
4. Own Your Happiness and Work-Life Balance
We’re living in the digital age where conventional nine to fives behind a desk are being disrupted. Additionally, Millennials are now a major portion of the U.S. workforce, demanding more flexibility in their schedules and a greater work-life balance. If flexibility is what you crave, give yourself the best opportunity to succeed by identifying companies that support your ideal work-life balance.
Popular trends in the sales industry are starting to support employee demands by offering the opportunity to be your own boss, set your own hours and work remotely. Going one step further, some companies continue to offer uncapped earning potential that allow driven entrepreneurs to realize the full rewards of their hard work.
While both autonomy and uncapped earnings should be defining factors in your next sales position search, do not forget the value of organizational support. Entering a new industry or new market means you need to get up-to-speed quickly on your product and your consumer. Be sure to ask your next employer what additional resources are available to ensure a successful transition.
Are you on the hunt for the next stage of your sales career? Do you pride yourself in being relatable, genuine and posses a hunger to succeed? Outstanding. At Beyond, we’ve built our team with salespeople who champion the customer. Explore a company with uncapped earning potential, a commitment to the right way of selling and the resources needed to give you the work-life balance you’ve always wanted.