David Letterman has his “Top Ten List.” Stephen Covey has “Seven Habits” and John Maxwell has his “Twenty‐One Laws.” Here are the Samurai “Top Seven Principles for Success in Sales.”
Sales Mastery Success Principles:
- Ask for Help
Sales masters are confident and have no problem admitting they are not perfect and that they need help. They are also committed to do what it takes to become excellent in their profession. In studies from around the world, buyers only rated 4% of the salespeople that call on them as “Excellent”. Sales masters seek out sales advisors and sales mentors. I have noticed they are the best students during a sales training course. They call for extra coaching; top producers understand that no one gets great by themselves.
- Activity and Behavior
If you don’t have a plan, don’t get in the car. When I entered the sales profession, my first manager said to me that if “I fail to plan, I plan to fail”. The first question he asked “Tell me about your sales activity plan.” This wise coach/mentor understood that selling is no different than any other business. If my sales activity plan and behavior didn’t lead me to prospects, it didn’t matter how good my selling skills were….no one would ever know if I didn’t get in front of the right buyers! Sales masters understand that a consistent sales activity plan and behavior is the key to finding new clients and driving revenue.
- Experts Learning Disability
A top producer that has achieved the “top of the hill” status can quickly move to the bottom of the hill because of arrogance. Arrogant individuals stop learning because, after all, they are the best in the business. What can they possibly learn after 10, 15, 20 years in the profession? In a study of salespeople with a major technology company, they found that new salespeople continued to learn grow and achieve their goals for the first 18 months in sales. Due to the “Experts Learning Disability” the majority felt they knew everything there was to know, their performance started to drop. Consistent top sales masters, continue to learn, change and grow. They understand to attain and retain mastery they must continue to sharpen their skills; they invest in continuous learning, coaching and training.
- Get Focused
Top producing sales masters have clearly identified their ideal buyer and have built a strategy around meeting, influencing, and creating value for that specific prospect. They have clearly defined goals; they’re very clear on who they want for a client and how they will help them buy. Top producers walk away from prospects that don’t fit their ideal profile; leaving them more time to walk towards best-fit clients. Sales masters invest most of their time discussing how to achieve results, how to beat increased competition, ways to improve/workaround operations issues, and how to sell regardless of economic issues. Sales masters “are judged only by results, not by excuses.”
- Manage Time & Connections
“Plan your work and work your plan” top producers are good at calendaring. Sales masters set aside very specific times each week for business development (prospecting calls, client retention calls, calls updating referral partners, networking and connecting, etc.). Sales masters have blended “Know-How” with “Know Who” they are continually growing their network and building trusted relationships. Top producers have discipline and don’t allow outside distractions to deter them from their most important appointment – the appointment with themselves and working their plan.
- Invest in Yourself
Sales masters don’t wait for someone else to make them good (I.e. I will only attend a sales training course if the company is picking up the tab). Mastery takes time and commitment, ask any martial art teacher. To earn black belt mastery takes hours of learning, coaching, teaching, training, and practice. Just imagine any professional sports player not continuously being coached, trained and practicing expecting to stay at the top of their game. To be a sales master takes work, that’s why only 4% of salespeople are rated excellent.
- Get Going
Are you getting ready to get ready? Listen up: Perfection is highly overrated. While you are waiting to get all the research done on a prospect, perfecting your technique, or redoing your PowerPoint one last time, the salesperson that is showing up is getting the deal. Strive for perfection, but don’t wait on perfection.
Well, those are my top 7 reasons for success or failure in sales. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additions to the list. We’re always willing to learn something new that makes us better.