Seven Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople
Are you in sales?
Are you selling a product or service that adds to the lives of your buyers, that makes their lives, jobs, or businesses better?
If you are, you should take a moment to smile, because there is no better time to be in the game.
The personal satisfaction that we can get from effectively doing our jobs is enormous. After all, if you answered yes to the questions above, you can go to bed knowing that you are improving people’s lives.
The following habits, if cultivated, can maximize your success in sales:
1) The Habit of Listening First
I recently asked a group of sales professionals and entrepreneurs here on LinkedIn what was the number one piece of advice they ever received about advancing their careers or businesses. If you review the comments on that post, you’ll see that most of them can be boiled down to seeking to understand before seeking to be understood. In other words, listen. It is very easy in sales to become caught in the trap of wanting to fill the white space. We think we’re supposed to have all the answers. Therefore, we have a tendency to talk ourselves right out of a potential genuine relationship. My friend Pat Hintze has coined a name for the space between what you know and what your prospective customer knows. He calls it the Valley of Death. Bridge the Valley of Death by listening more and talking less.
2) The Habit of Resilience
We are born into this world resilient. It is easy to forget, but when we were learning to walk, we fell down more often than not. Sales involves decisions. Some decisions go our way; some do not. Sales requires working with all sorts of different personalities. This is what makes the profession so rich and rewarding. The most successful salespeople have not lost touch with the resiliency of childhood.
3) The Habit of Consistency
I believe that sales is among the most creative professions. It ranks up there with writing, musicianship, and art. In fact, sales is an art. It is the art of piecing together an offering that best suits the customer’s needs. Just as the best professional writers write every day, top sales professionals network, connect, communicate, propose, respond, and follow up every day. The best are those who are the most consistent. With consistency comes improvement.
4) The Habit of Expectancy and Gratitude
Expectancy and gratitude are attitudes. An expectant, grateful attitude tells the world that we are open for business. When you walk into a room, are you greeted with genuine smiles that show that people are happy you’re there? An objective answer to that question will give you an idea of your attitude. A positive attitude starts with expecting the best from our dealings with others and being grateful for every interaction. Highly successful salespeople embody an attitude of expectancy and gratitude.
5) The Habit of Partnership
Very seldom is sales success a one-person show. The sales professional may even be one of the least important people on the team. The most effective salespeople embrace their partners in the organization—marketing, finance, delivery, and so on. The most effective sales professionals apply their relationship-building skills both outside and inside the organization and are key contributors to creating a team culture in the organization. They see success as a partnership and treat it that way in all of their daily interactions.
6) The Habit of Being Proactive
It is easy to fall into a sales slump from time to time. As the slump develops, the entrepreneur or sales professional often procrastinates, avoids making the necessary calls, and doesn’t follow up with his or her usual confidence and conviction. The quality of his or her sales activity is reduced. Logically, to break out of a sales slump, one should increase sales activity, make those calls, and follow up with confidence and conviction. The quality of sales activity must increase, not decrease. The most effective salespeople are proactive rather than reactive.
7) The Habit of Ongoing Goal Setting
It is easy to become caught in the trap of thinking that success is a destination at which we arrive and that if we are not yet there we are unsuccessful. However, it is more empowering to envision success as consistent movement toward something we desire. Sales is a wonderful profession. It is one of the few in which we are constantly exposed to key indicators of progress or lack of progress. Our results and actions are directly correlated. Consistent, positive action produces consistent, positive results. To be consistent, though, we need to set goals. Achieve a goal? Relax, and pat yourself on the back… but not for long. Set another more progressive goal, and get to work on achieving it. The ongoing cycle of setting goals, working toward them, and achieving them, is what success is all about, and sales is the profession that best supports this approach.
There you have it: Chris Spurvey’s seven habits of highly effective salespeople! Do you have any habits to add to the list? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
On Sunday morning I will be sending a 7-Habits Checklist to my private email list that I have posted above my home office desk. If you are interested I welcome you to check it out.
My first book, It’s Time to Sell will be published this month and will provide more information on these habits and my overarching approach to sales. I welcome you to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter to be among the early readers. Thanks.