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What separates the 5% from the 95% in Sales?

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

I am often asked what I attribute to my success in Sales over the last 8-years. During that time, I have both worked with and observed hundreds of sales professionals.

Over time, I have seen behaviors and characteristics that separate the top performers from the mediocre or as I like to refer to them, the 5% versus the 95%.

Below I have shared my thoughts and findings:

1. Relationship Builders

The top sales performers I come across are very strong relationship builders, beyond anything else. They’re able to effectively map out stakeholders in an account and build meaningful, trust driven relationships with key contacts. The 95% have a heavy reliance on sales processes and wide-ranging methodologies. They typically follow these frameworks religiously while forgetting rule number one, that people buy from people they like or connect with.

2. Focus on Partnerships & Value

Top performers focus on creating partnerships with customers as opposed to leaning on transactional selling motions. By building more integrated partnerships, they’re able to create interdependent relationships that lead to revenue-generating results. They also focus on delivering value to their customers by using their proposition to deliver transformative results for their clients. The 5% focus on the value-added benefits of what they're selling, they talk through features and benefits without translating this to quantifiable benefits for their customers.

3. Strategic Advisors to their Customers

The 5% act as strategic advisors to their customers. They invest in product knowledge to have a heightened level of technical competency. This builds credibility when in-front of customers and garners respect when interacting internally and externally. The remainder, have a reliance on technical and supporting resource to build this same level of credibility.

4. Effective Communicators

Top performers are able to simplify complicated propositions and appeal to multiple personas within a company. They’re equally able to effectively communicate with internal teams to coordinate resource and compel action. The 5% often overcomplicate topics and lack an effective means from which to effectively rally the support of internal supporting teams. 

5. They Work Smart and Hard

Superstar salespeople work smart, they’re organised and prioritise tasks based on impact and results. They understand that working hard is a prerequisite to delivering record-breaking results but prioritise a smart working ethos with a focus on consistency in their approach. Mediocre performers often lean on the concept of working hard, without any kind of framing or prioritisation mechanism.

6. Closing Instinct

The 5% are not afraid to ask for a signature once they have built enough value in a transaction. They produce close plans, get their customer’s buy-in and have a laser focus on closing transactions at the right time. The 95% are often either afraid to ask for an order or simply haven’t invested in an effective close plan to know when the appropriate time is to close off on a transaction.

7. They're Driven

Top performers are truly driven, they have goals and ambitions, viewing their role as an enabler to achieve their personal targets. The 95% typically claim to be driven but often lack the hunger, desire and the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve the end result.

Let me know your thoughts.

Disclaimer: All views expressed on this site/article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.

©2019 by Alex Alleyne

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