When I train companies on sales I am often asked what separates a top performing sales person from the rest of the pack. In most cases, it’s because they apply a number of best practices everyday. Here are 10 best practices I share of top sales performers:
- They set high targets
Top performers don’t wait for their manager to issue an annual or quarterly target. They set their own goals that are usually more ambitious than the corporate targets.
- They plan their quarter, month and week, as well as their daily schedule
Too many sales people ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ and only look at the day or week ahead instead of planning their month and quarter.
- They ask high value questions that get to the heart of the issue
Sounds simple but most sales people fail at this and ask weak, feeble questions. Top performers are comfortable asking tough questions that make their prospect think.
- They clarify the issue when they are unclear what their prospect means
People often say things that are unclear and most sales people assume they know what their prospect means. Top performers take the time to fully understand by asking “What do you mean by that?” or “Can you clarify that for me?”
- They wait to present their product or service until they know exactly what their prospect’s situation is
The majority of sales people jump too quickly into their ‘sales pitch’ but top performers are patient and wait for the right moment.
- They begin every sales presentation with a brief recap of their understanding of the prospect’s situation
Again, a simple concept but one that is greatly ignored by many sales people. A quick summary of your prospects’ situation give you the opportunity to ensure that your presentation addresses their key issues.
- They know how to properly and effectively position their product or service
The vast majority of sales people fail miserably at this. They talk, talk, talk but usually end up talking about aspects of their product or service that have little or no relevance to their customer’s situation.
- They are prepared for potential objections
Top performers anticipate objections and plan their response before their sales call.
- They always establish the next steps
Decision makers are busier than ever which means they are more difficult to connect with. Avoid losing contact with a prospect by agreeing on the next steps after every sales interaction. Do this in face-to-face meetings and telephone calls.
- They follow up after the meeting
Many a sale has been lost because the sales person failed to follow up after the initial call. You cannot rely on your prospect to call you; you need to take this initiative. Set this up during your call or meeting.