7 Habits of Highly Successful Sales Professionals
Thursday, August 12 2010 Maura Schreier-Fleming
Successful salespeople are different. That’s what I’ve noticed. You may have noticed this in your company, too. These behaviors seem to work for them. Don’t you think they should work for you, too?
1. They have a huge Rolodex. Selling is finding customers who need or want what you have to sell. Successful salespeople find their customers differently than less successful salespeople. One sales manager found that salespeople were more successful when they had more people resources to tap into. It didn’t matter if salespeople had much sales experience or came from a non-sales area. If they had maintained contact with their mentors, peers and managers over the years they were able to use their contacts as a source of sales leads and information. They were also more successful. You can start by maintaining meaningful contact with your customers. What better people than satisfied homeowners to recommend you to new prospects?
2. They read fast. Customers value salespeople who possess knowledge and offer unique insights. To get these insights, you have to be current on a variety of topics. Business and non-business reading is essential. How do you process all that you need to? You’ve got to read fast. Taking a speed-reading course can increase your reading from 250 words a minute to almost 1000 words a minute. You’ll be able to acquire much more information that can be of use to your customers.
3. They apply technology. How do you use the information you acquire to serve your customers? Is it easy to access that information when you need it? Having the information and being unable to access it quickly is the same as not having it at all. Time spent looking for something is time that could be spent supporting your selling. Do you want to refer a past customer to a new client? The sales greats use technology to manage information. Their databases make it easy to retrieve information. With the data they can see where their sales are and what they need to do to meet their goals. They can quickly locate the information they need. They spend time selling with information, not looking for information.
4. They’re naturally curious. When they talk with customers and prospects, they use the word “why” a lot. They intuitively know when to ask “why” to get more information. They know that information is more powerful if the reason behind it is known. They don’t guess why a customer prefers a certain location. They ask why and find out from the customer’s point of view. In addition to why, they also ask great questions learning far more about their customers than less successful salespeople.
5. They love what they do. Ask a sales great what they love about selling and they say, “Everything.” Being around them is like being around an energy source. Their attitude of optimism and belief in the value of their work portrays this enthusiastic attitude to others. As one executive told me, “Passion is infectious. It’s more important than what you know. Maintaining the passion is the biggest challenge in business.” Great salespeople are able to maintain their passion.
6. They do the unexpected and more for their customers.Salespeople can go out of their way to do something special for their customers. Getting customers for your customers, creatively showing a home if you’re a realtor, or making personal introductions for prospects are what talented sales professionals do. They think it is their job, not something extra. In fact, most salespeople don’t make the extra effort.
7. They’re very creative. Being creative means the process of coming up with new ideas for business. Sales greats see possibilities where others give up. Getting told “no” by a worthwhile prospect is not the end for great salespeople; it’s just the beginning. Using their creativity they find news ways to get to “yes” with the prospects who are a challenge. Creativity is the foundation of selling. It’s useful for questioning, presenting and strategizing. Believing in your creativity is the first step to being creative. You may have noticed these habits in other successful salespeople. When you adopt these seven habits, the success that others achieve can also be yours.
Maura Schreier-Fleming is a sales strategist and founder of Best @ Selling, a sales training and consulting company. She wrote Monday Morning Sales Tips and works with sales professionals who want to sell more and get more business.