Written by: Nic Windley
Most of us who are in sales want to be good at what we do, because sales, just like business, is a process of constant improvement if you really want to go somewhere or become one of the top sales people.
With all the training and conventional wisdom that gets pushed upon sales people you’d be forgiven for thinking that most of that stuff is what makes up a top sales person, but I’d disagree.
Over my career in sales, I remember meeting top people who just didn’t do any of those things or fit the typical sales person profile, in fact, they did, in a lot of cases, the exact opposite.
So what is it that top sales people do that makes them the best at what they do?
Actually, I think it’s what they don’t do that makes them truly different from the average sales person. Less is more.
Here are 16 things that top sales people don’t do:
1. Top sales people don’t do what the average sales people do because if they did, they wouldn’t be any better.
2. Top sales people don’t have lots of established connections or receive special treatment. In my own career, I moved around from industry to industry and always sold no matter where I was and went.
3. Top sales people don’t have to have high levels of qualifications, instead their qualifications come from experience, self-education and dedication.
4. Top sales people don’t get born, in fact they start off as failures, because only failures will ever truly understand what it takes to become great by constantly failing and improving.
5. Top sales people don’t believe the myths that are spread about top sales people. Instead they become truth seekers looking for evidence and knowledge to point them in the right direction.
6. Top sales people don’t come across like robots with beautifully scripted openers and canned replies which the company training drums into its people. They come across as real and make every effort to understand their prospect and customer. Selling is not telling, and you can’t build trust by pitching at people.
7. Top sales people don’t use cold calling to generate qualified leads. Instead they understand the power of marketing which even a single person can do inside a big company.
8. Top sales people don’t manipulate, they persuade. Most selling tactics or techniques are merely manipulation disguised as persuasion and push prospects into a corner where they are forced to do something that benefits mostly the seller. Persuasion on the other hand puts the customer or prospect first and delivers value that builds trust. I liken it to a camera person filming in the wild. If they wanted to film animals in the wild they’d soon have nothing to film if they went steaming in and tried to force some film footage, instead they build an environment where the animals come to them, because they trust they are safe and will get what they want.
9. Top sales people don’t confuse having or using intelligence or developing technical skills with their ability to sell. In fact, a lot of geeks are brilliant business people; just take a look at Bill Gates from Microsoft or Steve Jobs from Apple and the long line of engineers and scientists from the industrial revolution.
10. Top sales people don’t lead with products or technology, instead they lead with a problem or a desire that needs to be fulfilled and show people how they can achieve that.
11. Top sales people don’t focus on numbers, they focus on outcomes which includes marketing, building trust, expanding their knowledge and delivering value.
12. Top sales people don’t go to typical networking events and mixers. Instead, they spend time with their market, understanding them and their problems.
13. Top sales people don’t just attend events, they become speakers at events demonstrating thought leadership and imparting knowledge.
14. Top sales people don’t lose control. Instead through leadership and persuasion they understand that every interaction is a negotiation whether it’s by phone, email or in person and requires control and action to bring about a desired event.
15. Top sales people don’t chase, they position. Instead of being in need of customers they position themselves as solutions to problems or opportunities to fulfill desires, and customers seek them out.
16. Top sales people don’t ignore the fact that 93% of all in person communication happens at a sub-conscious level, so it’s not just what you say, it’s the way you say it. They also don’t confuse that with trying to be overly dynamic or energetic. Calm confidence.
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