Become a Sales Superstar:
Critical Areas to Master
By Voss Graham
a sales superstar is all about the choices you make as a
salesperson. There is good and bad news to this statement. First the
bad, what got you here today will not necessarily make you a sales
superstar tomorrow. Now for the good news, you can be a sales
superstar if you start making choices today – like a sales
superstars don’t just suddenly show up or arrive out of nowhere.
They design their paths to superdom using hard work and thinking
about their choices all the time! They develop a winner’s
edge on the mental side and learn the skills to insure winning. So,
how do they do this? By working on ten critical areas that create
sales success in today’s highly competitive world. To become a sales
superstar, you must decide to improve your skills in these ten
Learning – Sales superstars have one thing in common – they are
always learning. Their learning can take several avenues. One, they
learn about their customers, in depth, so they can understand the
current and future situations they will face. They are also readers.
Remember this – leaders are readers! They read about selling,
business trends, leadership issues, economic trends and industry
trends. They are the first to sign up for extending training and
development sessions. They know that they need to sharpen their
skills everyday – if they want to keep winning in the game of
Business Acumen – In the modern world of selling, salespeople
MUST be able to speak in terms that are important to customers and
especially the “C” level customers. These terms are the world of
Business Acumen – revenue growth, cost of goods sold, gross margin,
related costs, turnover ratios, velocity and net income. If you are
just talking about features and benefits – you are in the world of
commodity selling and price alone rules.
Preparedness – Like the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, top
salespeople know that customer research is done before meeting with
customers. You validate what you have learned while in the presence
of customers – which shows the customer that you are different and
will not waste their valuable time. Using web search engines to find
information about your customers, their customers, financial data
and trends – allow you to be more knowledgeable than your
Industry Knowledge – This should be a no-brainer, however, you
will still find sales people with little industry understanding. To
be a sales superstar, knowing the industry is a requirement. It
assists you in understanding trends, cycles, what is old or new,
best practices, and who are their customers. Industry knowledge
allows for knowing the little secrets of success and most
importantly the ability to anticipate trends within the industry
–allowing you to guide the customer to better decisions about their
Questioning Skills – Here is the big one. Most sales people talk
too much. Yes, they talk too much and actually bore the customer.
Why? Because the customer will have opinions about things and they
will Believe Their Thoughts over Yours! This is a form of bias, yet,
the best sales people have learned this fact. They use questions to
uncover these biases, use different questions to guide or educate
the customer, and even different types of questions to learn what
specific benefit or advantage certain solutions would provide for
that specific customer. The key is using questions to become
customer centric rather than boasting about what you think you know.
This is a required skill in modern selling, this is the land of the
sales superstar and they have learned the importance of this skill.
Listening – Closely related to the questioning skills is the
ability to actively listen to the customer. By focusing on exactly
what the customer is saying, opens the door to understanding what is
going on in the customer’s world. The sales superstars have taken
listening to a higher level. They listen for things that are not
clearly defined by the customer, what should have been said – but
was not. They hear general statements and respond with a clarifying
question for specifics and clear understanding of the situation.
Another interesting effect comes from listening to the customer –
they like you more!
Think like an Owner – This means connecting all the dots. How
does your team finish the sale with the customer? Does the customer
feel satisfied after the sale or does doubt and frustration rule?
Coordinating other functional areas to satisfy the customer is
another critical issue that most sales people overlook – yet it is
the one that influences the next sale to that customer the most.
Take time to think about customer satisfaction and what it takes to
insure success with each customer.
Creative Problem Solving – The key here is “creative.” This is
not by-the-book or policy type of problem solving. It is about
looking at the customer’s situation and thinking about different
ways to solve the problem they have. Then choosing the one idea that
will create the most effective solution for both the customer and
your company. Hint: Your biggest opportunity customers will test
you concerning problem solving – before they buy – just to see if
you are looking after their best interests. This is a guaranteed
Practice, Practice, Practice – The sales superstars do not
practice a new or improved technique on a critical customer. They
work on the skills using role-plays, application exercises and even
video a customer stimulation. Using video in the practice sessions
is the fastest method to gain immediate improvement in selling
skills – yet – it is the least used due to egos and fear of failure.
Focus on becoming a superstar.
Self Confidence – The final critical factor is both a means and
an end to succeeding in the other nine factors. Confidence is the
key to having the winner’s edge. Most importantly, customers want to
work with confident people to get the results and outcomes they
need. If you do the first nine, confidence will come. Or use self
confidence in demonstrating the discipline needed to make the
choices that lead to success and sales superstar status.
world of sales is changing rapidly. As a sales person, you need to
decide if you want to stay in sales for the long term or do
something else? Strong words, yet, truthful words based upon the
change that has already started in several industries. Commodity
selling will be ruled by the Internet and price decisions rather
than best value solutions. Make a decision today to become a sales
superstar and master the ten critical factors of success.
Read other articles and learn more
about Voss Graham.
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