It’s that time of the year where retailers tout the message that there are only “X” amount of shopping days left. Sales managers state a similar message to their sales teams. “There are “X” amount of selling days to hit your sales goal.” Some salespeople will and some won’t.
So what’s the difference between a salesperson that consistently hits their revenue targets versus an average producer that consistently misses their target? Are the top producers natural born salespeople that came out of their mother’s womb with the ability to open and close business?
In my years of working with top producers, I have found it boils down to the old adage: Great salespeople do what average producers don’t want to do.
- Plan and prepare. Look at their calendars and you will see very specific times marked off for activities. There is one hour blocked off for prospecting. Another 30 minutes for account management. Two hours for driving to and from an appointment. Each minute of the day is accounted for to insure a high return on investment for their most precious asset: TIME
- Plan to fail. They give into the pull of instant gratification rather than delayed gratification. Planning and preparation means you must put in the work to get the reward of a productive day. Often they give excuses like, “I just like to get after it.” The problem is they are getting after the wrong stuff.
- Track, analyze and adjust. They take the time to figure out what’s working or not working. At a recent sales training workshop, a top producer shared this insight. In examining his losses, he noted a trend. Small companies, less than 5M in revenue, simply weren’t ready for his services. He recognized they were always eager to meet with him and seldom eager to invest real money with him.
- Practice the ‘sales gerbil on a treadmill’ approach to business. They keep doing what they are doing in hopes that activity of any kind will produce sales results. These individuals are very busy---chasing the wrong prospects or executing ineffective business development strategies.
- Learn and follow a defined sales process. Sales is a funny profession. As a kid you take lessons to learn the piano. In school, you sit in a classroom to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. Then you land in the world of sales and for some reason, everyone thinks you think you should just know how to sell and influence.
Top producers don’t subscribe to that mentality. If their company invests in sales training, they don’t take it for granted. They work hard to absorb, practice and become masterful. If their company doesn’t invest in training, top producers don’t wait for someone else to make them good. They bet on themselves and invest their own dollars in sales education.
- Follow the ‘show up and throw up’ approach to sales. Without some type of education, they often default to dumping product knowledge and/or price concessions during a sales meeting. This approach ends up in either free consulting, no business or a quick race to zero.
Average producers wait for someone else to invest in them. I.e. “I’ll go to sales college only if someone else is footing the bill.”
As a sales professional, where do you rank? Are you demonstrating the behaviors of a top producer or an average producer?
Take control of your career. Plan and prepare. Analyze and adjust. Invest and learn. It’s another trait demonstrated by top sales producers.