If you’re reading this article right now, then chances are you want to perform better in your sales career. It shows that you’re willing to take the time to search out tips and techniques that will give you an edge over your competition. That’s a good thing.
But are you ready to really commit to doing the things that will catapult you into that rarified air of top sales producers?
And chance are, you know who these top producers are. They’re the ones who are always at or near the top of the sales production list every month, always winning the sales contests, and who always seem to be in a good mood. They’re positive, confident, and they have that feeling that no matter what happens to the leads or the economy or the company, they’ll find a way to succeed.
Years ago I heard a sales motivator say that if you are willing to the do the things that most sales reps aren’t willing to do, then soon you’ll be able to do and have and enjoy the things that most sales reps will never be able to.
When I heard that statement, I was a struggling sales rep, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was at a crossroads in my career, and I was either going to find a different way of making a living, or I was going to go back to school and get out of sales altogether.
What I chose to do was commit to being one of the top producers. I heard another motivator say that if the grass looks greener on the other side, then you need to fertilize your lawn. He said that you don’t have to change where you are to succeed, but rather you can bloom where you’re planted.
And I had many examples of that in the company where I worked. There were 25 sales reps, and while most of them had varying levels of inconsistent success (I call those the 80% of the any sales team), there were also the top producers who consistently were at the top of the sales charts. They were the ones who made the most commissions, drove the nice cars, went on the fun vacations.
These top producers were also the ones who made it look easy. They never seemed to struggle; instead, they seemed to intuitively know what to do. It was inspiring and intimidating at the same time. It wasn’t until I finally made a commitment to be one of them that I saw how much time and discipline and effort they put into being the best.
While it did take time, money and lots of effort for me to go from where I was as a struggling sales rep, with commitment and determination I became the number one sales rep at the company in 90 days. And the habits I developed allowed me to be the number one rep out of five branch offices just nine months later.
And you can do it, too. The good news is that success leaves clues, and if you’re willing to invest the time, money and effort into completely changing your results, your life and your family’s life, then you can. You can bloom where you’re planted, and you can start enjoying the things that top producers take for granted – the things that most sales reps will never get to enjoy.
I guarantee that if you adopt this one characteristic, then nothing will stop you from succeeding….
Top Characteristic of Top Sales Producers: Make a commitment to doing whatever is required of you to be a top producer.
Let me illustrate this with a story. Earlier this year, I was asked to give a keynote speech for a company of a little over 100 sales reps. Before I do any of these kinds of talks, I always ask to do a phone interview with their top producers. I reached out to their top sales rep, a woman working in Canada who had been with the company for just 15 months.
What was interesting about this sales rep was that she had come from a completely different industry – not sales – and yet in the course of about a year, she had become the top sales rep for all of the U.S. and Canada. As you can imagine, I was anxious to speak to her.
What I found out is what I always find out about top producers. When she joined the company, the first thing she did was make a commitment to work harder than another any person there, and to learn and practice the top principles of qualifying and closing sales.
I asked her how long she worked and she told me she regularly worked ten to twelve hours a day. I asked her about her family and kids and she said that’s what weekends were for.
When asked how many cold calls she made in a day, she told me about 100. The average sales rep in the company made about 25. I asked how she could make so many calls and still run appointments, and she said she began early, and made calls throughout the day – while waiting for an appointment in the field, after and between appointments, and then she made some more in the evening when others have long left the office.
When we talked about the specifics of the sale and how she qualified, she told me she gave her pitch on the first appointment call, told the prospect that she would then show them exactly what she just described and that at the end she would ask for a yes or no. “Will you be able to make a decision at that time?” was her last question on the appointment call.
Once on site, if the prospect tried to delay making a decision, she reminded him/her that they promised to commit at that time – yes or no – and she then began closing for the sale using proven, scripted (memorized and delivered naturally) closes that worked the majority of the time.
If the prospect simply wouldn’t commit, then she asked them to have a decision made by the end of the day (or next morning if an evening appointment), and she then called back for the yes or no. If it’s a no, she moved on.
When you break down what this number one rep did (and continues to do) to be so successful, you’ll find that she does “what most sales reps are not willing to do.” First, she’s made a commitment to working harder and smarter than all of the other reps in the company. When most sales reps are still at home drinking coffee, she is making calls. When most sales reps are shuffling their leads or thinking about lunch, she’s still making calls.
When other sales reps are semi-qualifying their prospects and then showing up and hoping and praying someone will buy, she’s already asked for a buying decision before she even gets there. And when many sales reps are put off with a stall at the end, she begins closing when she gets an objection.
Because of this commitment to be the best, she closes more sales than any other rep in the company (again, of 100+ sales reps). And this enables her to make double what the average sales rep makes, and triple what a third of the struggling reps make.
When I was at this annual sales conference, the company was giving out the awards, the bonus checks, and the family vacations and other perks. This top producer got all of these rewards, accolades and pats on the back. The other top producers (nine of them) got various awards as well. The other 90 sales reps? They got increased quotas, increased pressure and after three days at the conference, they went back to their jobs to struggle along for another year….
The bottom line in any career or profession is that the top performers are committed to putting in the time and effort to be the best. They are willing to pay the price for success by staying after practice to keep working, by putting in the time for film study or playbook study, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to perform at the top of their game. This is true of top athletes like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, etc., and for top concert musicians, professional dancers, and virtually any other professional.
As someone once said, “The extra mile is never crowded.”
If you will commit this one characteristic, then you will be able to live, have, enjoy and do the things that most sales people will never be able to have, enjoy and do.