Twelve Things Every Sales Super Star Knows
By Tim Connor, CSP
There are only three
ways to sell more. Do
more right. Do less
wrong. Or, do both.
Every successful software salesperson knows that there are
many skills and attitudes that contribute to their success, but
there are twelve critical attributes that the sales super stars have
integrated into their overall sales strategy.
The following are in no particular order, but if you want
long-term consistent success you will embrace and incorporate each
of them into your routine sales attitudes and behaviors.
1. Make a sale,
you’ll make a living. Sell
a relationship and you can make a fortune:
Poor salespeople focus on just closing the sale.
Successful salespeople focus on closing the sale and the
relationship. Which is
many salespeople, the close of the sale, typically comes at the end
of the sales presentation.
It represents for many, the final act in the sales process.
It is unfortunate that these poorly informed or trained
salespeople, lack adequate understanding of the role of selling in
today's competitive world.
is not about only closing the current prospect on a particular
product or service that solves one of their pressing problems, needs
or desires. It is about
building a trusting relationship and partnership with them, by
becoming a resource, and helping them solve their on-going
problems, or satisfying their continuing and evolving needs
and desires. Super stars
know that the lifetime value of a client is far more than the value
of one sale or transaction. They
take along view of the relationship.
It is not just about this sale but future sales, referrals
and customer trust and loyalty.
2. People buy
when they are ready to buy not when you need to sell: One of
the critical concepts that sales super stars know is that their role
is to help people buy and that just because they may be behind in
their sales quota is not a reason why a prospect should buy from
You don’t change
people’s buying habits or circumstances.
What you can do is accurately discover them and then attempt
to create a sense of urgency. A
lot of buying is done due to momentum.
It is important to discover those ‘real’ reasons or
circumstances as to why a prospect would buy now, later, not at all
or never. Once you have
discovered their real issues the sales super star tailors their
appeal to those specific needs,
desires and buying circumstances.
3. When you
sell price you rent the business.
When you sell value you own it:
Most poorly trained salespeople tend to lower the price when they
receive price resistance. Any price, no matter how low,
will always seem high to a prospect or customer if their
perceived value is low. The key to effectively handling price
resistance is to understand this simple, yet profound, concept.
Prospects and customers say they want low price, but what they really want
is low cost. What is the difference?
Price is what customers pay for your product or service now.
Cost is what the customer pays by buying late, not at all or wrong.
It is their overall cost over an extended period of time.
In most cases we get what we pay for. Buy cheap and you get
less value or higher cost. Buy expensive and you get higher value or
lower cost over time. This
is not always true but tends to be true most of the time.
The sales super stars sell value and don’t defend price. In
the long run, it is much easier to justify high price if the value
is there, than poor quality and constant product/service problems.
prospect will tell you what you need to tell them to sell them:
Accurate and timely information is the key to success in selling.
One of the biggest mistakes poor salespeople make is that they give
information before they get information. In other words they talk
too much. If you practice this approach, you are going to make one
or all of the following mistakes. 1) You will give too much
information (more than is necessary to make the sale).
2) You will give the wrong information (based on the prospect's needs, wants, desires or problems). 3. You will give information
that could sabotage your success either in the short or long term.
The sales super stars
understand that their job is not to sell their software or services
but to help the prospect become comfortable with buying their
products or services and giving themselves permission to buy now.
Information is power and successful salespeople are masters at
uncovering needs, problems, prejudices, concerns and desires in a
timely and truthful way.
5. If two
people want to do business together they won’t let the details get
in the way. If two
people don’t want to do business together they will let any detail
will get in the way: Some people actually know that when
they are making a commitment to you to buy that they have no
intention of following through.
Why? Maybe they
are just subtly telling you that they are not really a prospect for
you. Maybe they have an
inflated view of their authority or power within their own
organization. And maybe,
they just lie a lot. Who
knows. If two
people want to do business together they won’t let any details get
in the way. If
a prospect doesn’t want to do business with you they will
let even the slightest detail get in the way.
We are talking here about intent.
Sales super stars know how to identify the prospect’s real
intent or their purpose. They
are not easily misled and tend to probe deeper when they feel they
are not getting the real truth from the prospect or customer.
6. They need to
work as hard to keep the business as they did to get it in the first
place: Many salespeople make lots of promises or benefit
statements while trying to sell a new prospect. Most people like to
buy, but resist being sold to. A key concept to keep in mind while
selling is that the close of the sale is not the end of the sales
process, but the beginning of the sales relationship.
The purpose of the
sales process is to discover how you can help a customer or prospect
with a need, problem, desire or challenge, and then position your
product or service in such a way that the customer discovers in his
mind the value necessary in order to justify a purchase. Once the
sale has been closed and the prospect accepts your promises,
commitments or features as ones that will benefit him, he or she now
moves into a sort of limbo mode. They wait patiently to see if you
meant all of that sales stuff or were just trying to get another
deal. They observe and monitor your behaviors, actions,
follow-through and communication consistency.
Most don’t do this consciously but nonetheless they are
is the key to keeping sales closed and keeping customers satisfied
and buying again. It can often be a subtle test to see if you can
really deliver. One of the keys is to promise a lot and deliver
more. In other words, exceed customer expectations – wow them with
service. Poor salespeople continuously promise a lot and deliver
less, or promise a little and deliver next to nothing.
Sales super stars know that to ensure repeat business,
customer loyalty, positive references and qualified referrals that
their after sales service must be one of their strengths.
7. To sell more
every year, they get better every year: Over the years, one
common denominator I have observed in sales super stars is their
willingness to invest in the continued improvement of their skills,
attitudes and philosophy.
Life is an
interesting relationship between paying the price and winning the
self-investment and rewards. Between investing time in personal
development and your ultimate success. It is never too late to begin
an aggressive on-going self development program.
There are hundreds of books to read, audio CD’s to listen
to and seminars to attend. Sales stars don't wait for their organization to invest in them and their future
value. They take full
responsibility for the quality of their life and learning. They are
pro-active in seeking out learning opportunities.
They use professional coaches, have mentors and belong to
mastermind groups. They
are constantly taking advantage of networking opportunities looking
for all types of people who can help them improve.
They create strategic alliance relationships that are
8. They manage
their time and territory effectively: Each of us gets 24 hours to
do with what we will. Some
salespeople wish they had more while others wish time would pass a
lot quicker. Some
salespeople act like they have an unlimited time bank available to
them and that their prospects or clients will see them whenever the
salesperson would like. The
sales super stars understand the importance of using every available
selling minute to its full advantage.
you can improve your use of time to sell you need to get a handle on
how you are spending your time and how you are abusing it.
Most of us tend to waste the time we do in the same old ways,
day after day, year after year.
For one week carry a stop watch and start it when in the
presence of a prospect or customer
to sell only and then stop it when you leave.
After the sales visit don’t reset the clock but keep a
running accumulative total of time spent selling in one week.
You can do this with every sales activity for example; how
much time you spend on the telephone prospecting for new business,
travel time, doing paperwork, in meetings, how much time you spend
doing research or solving client problems.
this simple exercise you will get a fairly accurate picture of where
you need time and territory management improvement.
Yon can’t change or fix what you don’t know is wrong.
So before you launch into some sophisticated time management
program remember, you can not manage time.
It passes with or without you.
9. The close of
the sale begins when the prospect agrees to see them: People
don’t like to make decisions.
The main reason is they don’t want to make a poor or wrong
sales closing methods asks people to make a decision.
For example. Do
you want it in green or red? (Alternative
choice) Do you want to
use your pen or mine? (Action
close) Can we write up
an order now? (Direct
close) Each of these
closing techniques, even though they do work, have two fundamental
problems. 1) They ask
the prospect to make a decision. 2)
The average salesperson is uncomfortable using them.
Few salespeople have a
a process that they follow with each and every real sales
opportunity. They tend to ask a few questions, jump into the
presentation too soon, try and overcome a couple of
the prospect’s sales objections and then prematurely go for
the close – usually unsuccessfully. The sales super star knows the
outcome long before they get to the end of this routine process and
they do it by ensuring that; they have a well qualified prospect,
they know the prospect’s dominant buying motives, they have
identified all of their potential objections before they are even
expressed, they have carefully observed the various buying signals
from the prospect and they have given an effective and interactive
presentation. They know
long before they ask their closing question what the answer will be.
How? By being effective at people reading skills, by asking
intelligent, effective and appropriate probing qualifying questions,
by being good listeners and by asking a variety of trial closing
questions throughout the sales process.
They don’t try an force a fit.
They discover the prospects sense of urgency or they create
They are in the prospect’s presence to sell
not educate. They are
there to do business. From
their opening remark to their final closing statement their attitude
is I am here to sell. This does not mean that they are applying
pressure or hard-selling. It
means they are serious about helping the prospect solve their
problems or take advantage of opportunities.
10. They never give up control of the sales process:
A common mistake poor salespeople make is that they lose control of
the sales process at some point. There are many ways they accomplish
this and here are just a few for your consideration:
quote price before they have had a chance to build value.
don’t ask enough questions early in the sales process. They
just ramble on.
send out literature when asked, without first qualifying the
prospect’s agenda or reasons for requesting it.
send people to their website without first getting some basic
qualifying information and having a follow-up strategy after the
prospect has perused their site.
don’t get advance deposits on services or products.
leave ‘will calls’ when calling a prospect.
Control of the sales
process is one of the key strategies of the sales super star.
They understand that control is not manipulation, but is in
the ultimate best interests of the prospect or client.
When the salesperson controls the sales process they are
never broad-sided with a lost sale they thought was in the bag.
11. They never project their buying prejudices into the sales process:
The objection that you will tend to have the most difficulty
answering successfully is that objection that is the most consistent
with your own value system.
If you are a
price buyer and your prospect objects to price you will tend to
accept their objection. If
you are the type of buyer who tends to think decisions over before
making a purchase and your prospect says to you, “We need to think
this over.” Again, you will tend to go along with their objection
as rational or making perfect sense (because that is the way you
This simple act
of accepting sales objections that resonate with you because you can
relate to them is nothing more than projecting your personal
attitudes, opinions, judgments or biases into the sales process.
When you project your personal beliefs into the sales process
you are assuming that everyone who buys, buys the way you like to
buy and often for the same reasons.
You are also tending to assume that when they don’t buy for
a reason that is similar to one of yours that it makes perfect sense
The sales super
star leaves their personal biases, prejudices and opinions at home.
They never lose their passion: Passion is the great
equalizer. It can make
up for a lack of experience and knowledge.
I am not suggesting that you not develop your knowledge or
experience - only that until you do, your passion will be
interpreted by others as a strong belief in yourself, your mission
and your purpose.
is different from enthusiasm. The
old outworn cliché says “Act enthusiastic and you will become
enthusiastic.” I have
never subscribed to this philosophy.
The reason is that if enthusiasm is an act which you use when
things are going well, how do you behave when your life is falling
apart? Are you just as enthusiastic about failure, more problems
than you deserve and any number of disappointments, frustrations and
is not an act. It is a
way of believing. It is
woven into your cellular structure just as much as your DNA.
Passion - real passion for who you are, what you are selling,
who you are becoming and what
you believe in. It
shouts to the world: “I am here to stay, I am here to make
a difference, I will leave my mark in this world.
It may take me my entire life, but I will not give up until
my purpose and destiny are realized.”
you in love with where you are, where you are going, who you are
becoming and what you are selling?
Or, are you living like more than 85% of the population with
the attitude, “Same Stuff, Different Day?”
If you have lost or are losing your passion for your career
do whatever is necessary to get it back.
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