Friday, March 30, 2012

Sales Superstars ~ What are they made of?

Common traits in the Extraordinary Sales Professional
I have been quite fortunate to be involved in sales virtually my entire life.  As a young boy, I would go “door to door” selling flower and vegetable seeds.  I did the same thing with a door to door selling position for a neighborhood newspaper.  Amongst other jobs through HS and college, I worked in retail selling auto parts and a major department store selling men's clothing.  I sold magazine subscriptions to small business owners representing a major National Business Organization making at least 50 calls per day and succeeding on average once or twice daily.  I sold emblematic jewelry to College and High Schools as well as Sports organizations.  In my professional career I worked primarily with small companies in the healthcare market as a Sales Professional, Training, Marketing, First and Second-Line Sales Manager.  I have seen a lot over the past 50 years and noted some “common traits” that were exhibited by Top Sales Professionals.  Today, I would like to share them with you.  
I would also encourage any feedback that you may have in case I missed something that you feel strongly about.  The hope of this blog is to characterize the key characteristics that Extraordinary Sales Professionals live by!  This listing is in no particular order since my hope is to add your thoughts and comments.

Successful Sales People need to have a “thick skin”~They cannot afford to allow rejection, which is going to happen much more than "wins",  affect their positive energies.  They need to have strong, healthy self-esteem to carry them over the hurdles that they will face on a regular basis. These special people simply “do not give up”
Assertiveness without being overbearing or overly-aggressive ~ The ability to listen and lead the sales process to fill needs. They meet challenges head-on and look for new solutions to be problem solvers.

Empathy ~ Walk in your customer’s shoes and understand your customer’s needs and wants.
Great Salespeople learn to be Consultants ~ They show empathy and listen to their customers.  Typically they are listening 80% of the time while speaking 20%.  Without going the 20 questions route, they engage with their customers and are prepared by having in-depth knowledge of the customer, product and “buying needs”.  They are masterful at applying the benefits of their products to the features of their product. What's in it for the customer is the base of their operations. 
Top Sales Professionals are Extraordinary at Planning & Organization ~ They have goals that are S.M.A.R.T. and use the appropriate data to make sure that they are selling to the top targets. (80-20).  They do the extra planning and route themselves to break down significant amounts of data into a filtered process that will allow them to spend their time efficiently.
Top Tier Sales Pros ~ Enthusiasm and excitement are contagious with these people.  At meetings, they tend to stick together and avoid anyone or anything that is negative.  They enjoy working for their organization and take special pride when they talk about their company, products and colleagues.
They have extraordinary work ethic and integrity ~  They plan their work and work their plan.  They do not wait for business to come to them, they go out and earn it. They mine the data to filter out only top targets for their individual products.  They spend time with “tougher” customers because those are the customers who will deliver. They also work extremely hard in cultivating relationships and bringing value to their customers.  They are constantly on the lookout in ways to bring greater value to their customers.
Personal Accountability ~ Over the years, this one trait is perhaps above all the others that  I have seen that represents the truly great sales person.  They go about their business as sincere, honest representatives who bring special value to their customers. You never hear these people complain or blame the company or others for their failures.  With the recent economical recession, true leaders emerged.  These people know that their actions  will determine their results and they do what is necessary to lead the pack.

As the chart above mentions, a startling 10% of the sales organization returns over half of the typical companies sales.  The amazing thing to take from this chart is the top producers are responsible for 80% of the profit of the company.  These figures are staggering and proves that the successful recruiting and retention of these people can have extraordinary impact on the company productivity.

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