Henry Ford famously said, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” He was referring to the sales engine required to drive sales of Ford’s vehicles, however the same mantra can be said for every product and service.
New research from Steve W. Martin, the founder of Heavy Hitter Sales, reveals what differentiates the heavy hitters from those sales representatives who fail to meet their sales quotas. The findings show that although organizational factors can positively impact a salesperson’s performance, there are specific traits of top sales professionals that enable them to exceed quotas. “Sales performance is more likely dependent on the attributes of the individual and sales environment characteristics over company-related influences,” Martin stated.
To rise to the top echelon of sales professionals, aim to attain these traits.
Situational dominance is defined as, “a personal interaction strategy by which the customer accepts the salesperson’s recommendations and follows his advice.” Although dominance is typically associated with force and even coercion, this is not true for sales. Dale Carnegie said, “Get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately.” A relaxed-dominant salesperson speaks confidently and steers the conversation based on his knowledge and opinions with the customer. They use facts, benefits and application examples to win the prospect to his way of thinking without brute force. This trait is taught in the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage course.
Excellence in verbal acuity is a trait necessary in every step of the Sales Advantage process, whether the sales person is explaining specific features or examining the prospect’s pain points. Communicating effectively is critical whether communicating one-one-one or when presenting to large purchasing groups; face-to-face or over the phone. Dale Carnegie’s 9th Win People to Your Way of Thinking principle is, ‘Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely,’ which underscores the importance of communicating at the prospect’s level. Using prospect-appropriate language to demonstrate relevant examples, sales professionals are able to close deals more frequently than those with relatively lower verbal acuity. Determine the educational level at which you communicate with the Readability Score online tool.
Listening is their expertise- Dale Carnegie’s 15th Win People to Your Way of Thinking principle is, ‘Let the other person do a great deal of the talking,’ because it demonstrates listening to understand vs. to respond. Top sales professionals listen more than they speak because they understand that a keen knowledge of the prospect’s challenges and goals are critical inputs to crafting a salient solution. Instead of interrupting or monopolizing the conversation, they listen intently to reinforce trust.
Leverage existing accounts was a key differentiator of sales quota exceeders. While 80% of organizations neglect existing clients, top sales professionals hone in on harvesting incremental opportunities, or maximizing existing accounts. Their focus on client retention is a testament to their strategic selling skills including upselling and cross-selling products and services. Establishing a solid footprint of strong relationships throughout an organization also yields massive opportunities in terms of referrals, another area in which top sales pro’s excel.