By AJA FROST
The difference between average salespeople and good ones is staggering. Average reps hit their quota – most of the time – while good ones don’t just consistently hit, they have blow-out months and quarters.
Good reps earn their prospects’ admiration, loyalty and referrals. They skillfully handle objections and preemptively surface concerns to make them disappear.
If you want greatness, good news. Following these rules of good sellers will help you become one of the top-selling salespeople on your team.
- Identify and stick to your buyer personas.
- Use a measurable, repeatable sales process.
- Know your product.
- Review your pipeline objectively.
- Find shortcuts and hacks.
- Practice active listening.
- Work hard.
- Follow up.
- Personalize your message.
- Shadow your peers.
- Practice your people skills.
- Be a team player.
- Know when to walk away.
- Always solve for the customer.
- Roll with rejection.
- Always ask for referrals.
- Get eight or more hours of sleep.
- Believe in what you’re selling.
- Identify your strongest motivator.
- View your customer’s success as your own.
- Build personal relationships.
- Prepare ahead of time.
- Look for potential customers wherever you go.
1. Identify and stick to your buyer personas.
A clearly defined buyer persona is crucial to an effective sales process. A sales rep who sticks to that persona is effective in generating sales.
An effective rep researches the prospect to make sure they’re a good fit. They know exactly who they’re selling to and why.
2. Use a measurable, repeatable sales process.
Low-performing reps let intuition guide them. High-performing reps use a process that’s optimized to move as many prospects as possible from “connect” to “close,” and they know the state of every deal in their pipeline, what actions they’ll take next and when. Low-performing reps rarely analyze results because they haven’t been tracking them. High-performing reps obsessively review key metrics and adjust as necessary.
3. Know your product.
Being able to sell is half the battle. Understanding what you’re selling is the other (often under-appreciated) half. Now that prospects have more access to information than ever before you have to know your product and why it’s valuable to your prospect in order to gain their trust.
4. Review your pipeline objectively.
Effective sales reps don’t mark a deal as “likely to close” because the influencer likes them. They’re able to objectively review opportunities and produce accurate sales forecasts.
5. Find shortcuts and hacks.
Once a great salesperson finds a strategy or technique that works, they use it – again and again and again and again, until it stops working. I’m not suggesting you should never change up your approach. Just do so selectively and get results ASAP so you can either implement the tactic or move on.
6. Practice active listening.
Successful salespeople are completely present when they talk to prospects. They’re engaged. And as a result, their conversations with buyers are deeper and more meaningful. Active listening may be one of the hardest skills to develop since it’s human nature to care more about what you have to say than your prospect. However, it’s incredibly valuable. Not only will you build stronger relationships, but you’ll unlock information that’ll help position your product as the best option.
7. Work hard.
It’s 5 p.m. on the last day of the month or quarter. The B players have already left the office. The C players are still in the office; they’re sending off last-ditch email attempts to prospects they haven’t engaged with in weeks. The A players are in the office, too. They’ve already hit their goal, but they’re still sending emails, scheduling meetings and making calls. And by laying the foundation for a great month before they need to, they always blow their goals out of the water.
8. Follow up.
Many salespeople fail to effectively follow up after sending a proposal. They don’t even know if the prospect opened their email. HubSpot Sales helps with this issue, letting salespeople know when and how often a prospect opens an email. With this information, they can follow up at the optimal time.
9. Personalize your message.
Instead of following a script and approaching each prospect with a “one-size-fits-all” mentality, high-performing salespeople are committed to learning as much as they can about a prospect to tailor their message. These sales reps understand the unique pain points their prospect is facing and can explain why their product is a good fit.
10. Shadow your peers.
Want to improve your objection handling? Identify the salesperson who’s best at it within your company and ask if you can shadow a few of his or her calls. Learning from your peers is a great way to get better at your job while building strong relationships with your coworkers.
11. Practice your people skills.
Excellent small talk is a learned skill, and one that’s crucial to salespeople’s success. Whether you’re at a housewarming party or a networking event, practice making other people feel at ease. Notice what makes them open up, zone out, and laugh, and take what you learn back to the office.
12. Be a team player.
So much of sales pop culture glorifies the lone wolf. But the best salespeople know it takes a village to build a career and a successful sales team. Help your colleagues and know when to ask for help; that’s the key to a long, fulfilling sales career.
13. Know when to walk away.
Are you wasting too much time on prospects who just aren’t that into you? Know how much time your average deal process consumes and use that as a guidepost for how long is too long to spend on one deal.
14. Be honest.
Don’t promise a feature that doesn’t exist, a price you can’t deliver on or a service your company can’t do well. This might earn you a close, but it won’t keep their business… and you’ll end up with bad reviews and poor word of mouth.
15. Always solve for the customer.
Similarly, don’t oversell your customer on services or features they don’t need just to bump up your numbers. A consultative selling approach allows you to be honest with your customer about what they really need to solve for their business. It’s the right thing to do.
16. Roll with rejection.
You won’t win every deal, and some buyers just won’t like you. That’s part of being in sales. While it’s important to be thoughtful about how you can improve, it’s crucial to move on easily from rejection.
17. Always ask for referrals.
Successful salespeople know the easiest close often comes from a referral.
18. Stay balanced.
Salespeople experience more highs and lows in a single week than most professionals do in an entire month. Some days, you feel invincible. Other days, you wonder if you even belong in sales. Successful reps have learned to manage their emotions and stay somewhere in the middle.
19. Take breaks.
In sales, activity is often correlated with results. The more emails you send, the more meetings you book. The more meetings you book, the more demos you set. The more demos you set, the more deals you close. If you’re regularly burning the candle at both ends, you’ll eventually burn out. Plus, how much are you actually getting done between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.? That time would be better spent reading, talking to your friends or family, watching TV, playing video games, cooking, walking your dog – anything that gives your brain a break.
20. Get eight or more hours of sleep.
Think you can get away with five or six hours of sleep? Think again. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If you get less, you’ll suffer from a laundry list of ailments. To be at your best on sales calls, prioritize your sleep.
21. Believe in what you’re selling.
It’s easier to be passionate about – and sell – a product when you genuinely believe in it. The most effective salespeople actually use their product and believe in its value.
22. Identify your strongest motivator.
It doesn’t matter what drives a salesperson – he or she simply needs to be motivated. Every top salesperson has a burning reason for showing up to work every day and giving it their all. Ask yourself, “What’s my #1 reason for wanting to be successful?” If you can’t immediately produce an answer, you need to find that motivator.
23. View your customer’s success as your own.
Salespeople don’t stop working as soon as the prospect signs on the dotted line. Top reps touch base frequently with their customers to seek feedback and provide tactical suggestions. Customer success lets reps know what strategies work, forms client relationships and drives customer advocacy for your business.
24. Build personal relationships.
Be a relationship builder. Connect with people everywhere you go – not merely in the surface-level, LinkedIn way, or the “let’s exchange business cards” way, but in a genuine, human way that makes you want to talk to him again. As a salesperson, relationships are your capital. You don’t high levels of charisma; on the contrary, a desire to help goes a lot further than a magnetic personality.
25. Prepare ahead of time.
Effective salespeople prepare before a call. That means they do research on their prospect and gather all the information they need before a big customer meeting. Top reps don’t wing it. They go in with a plan and a contingency plan. This way, they anticipate challenges or questions and prepare an effective response to avoid losing the sale.
26. Look for potential customers wherever you go.
To over-perform, you can’t stop being a salesperson as soon as you leave the office. Successful reps are always looking for potential customers – at parties, networking events, dinners and so on. You have to read the room.
There’s not one single way to become a successful salesperson, but the habits mentioned above are essential to providing a positive sales experience for your customers. Demonstrating that you have passion, knowledge, self-determination and adaptability can take you from being an average sales rep to a high-performing success story.
Aja Frost is Hubspot’s director of global growth.