Illustration by Propoint designer Sisi R.

What you can learn from the top sales leaders

You know the type: the ones who always seem to exceed their quota and somehow manage to make it look easy.

Have you ever wondered about what actually sets sales leaders apart from everyone else? Well, now you don’t have to. Here are the traits and habits that set the top salespeople apart from the rest; and how you can incorporate them into your own workday:

1. Actually be helpful

We’ve all dealt with a pushy salesperson that tried to sell us a product without really listening to what we wanted or why we wanted it. The best sales leaders are never that pushy because they would much rather spend the time selling to people they can help.
 Even Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz has this pinned to his Twitter profile for over a year.

Best way to sell something — don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 4, 2015

No high-profile founder would have something pinned for this long if it wasn’t still relevant. Focusing on helping people and understanding their needs will build better relationships with your clients, and will make you a better salesperson.

2. Act like a consultant

The best salespeople make an effort to understand their prospect’s business and industry before making any suggestions. Once you prove that you understand a prospect’s challenges and goals, you can use your expertise to reframe the way they look at their pain points and even challenge them to think critically. Mark Roberge, former CRO at Hubspot said:

“Once the salesperson truly understands the day-to-day job of the buyer, the salesperson can connect with the buyer, earn the buyer’s trust, and appreciate the buyer’s unique perspectives…The salesperson can understand where the buyer wants to go because the salesperson has been at both the starting gate and the finish line.”

Sales leaders know that they’re more successful when they can tailor the conversation to the prospect’s specific situation and can genuinely help. It’s all about relating and building trust.

3. Understand your impact

Good sales reps don’t just understand their industry and its context. They’ll take the time to understand a prospect’s industry as well. Because of this, they ask great follow up questions to close any gaps in information. Reps should be experts who know all about the applications of their product so they understand how it fits into their prospect’s world.

The fastest way to sell is to honestly help people see in non-manipulative ways how our solution is really in their best interest. #sales
— The Responsive Edge™ (@RussThoman) September 22, 2016

4. Be deliberate with your time

Sales people live by their calendars, and the ability to prioritize between high-reward and low-reward projects is a great skill to make the most out of your precious time. According to Hubspot, the average salesperson only spends two hours per day on revenue-generating activities, while the highest performing sales people spend six hours per day on these tasks. That’s an insane difference. Sales leaders are deliberate with their time and are likely to automate repetitive tasks.

5.Be just pessimistic enough

Sales leaders aren’t going to waste time on a prospect who doesn’t seem like a good fit, and they’re just pessimistic enough to figure out who those prospects are. Research published by the Harvard Business Review found that nearly all of the salespeople participating considered themselves optimists, but after a personality test, nearly ⅔ of the high performing reps were revealed to have pessimistic personalities. Salespeople who are a little more pessimistic tend to question the credibility of buyers, which means they’re a lot less likely to waste time on unqualified leads.

The best salesmen are those that close when they are supposed to — and when it’s hardest. … https://t.co/I8y9YzTmQ1 pic.twitter.com/GX4B45CmP6
— Scott Britton (@britton) August 11, 2016

And last, but not least:

6. Know when to back off

44% of sales reps give up after one follow-up, despite the fact that most sales require multiple. So, knowing how and when to follow up is an obvious sign of a great salesperson. With that being said, it’s still important to strike a fine balance when keeping in touch with leads and clients. Persistence is great, but no one likes being pestered. The best sales reps know when it’s time to let things rest.

Read more:

How to craft your perfect selling story

7 outreach email mistakes you need to stop making

How to get more sales appointments per week

Your sales presentation second act: follow-up strong


Originally published at www.propointgraphics.com on March 12, 2017.

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