Why is it that the image of the salesperson in popular culture today is so unflattering? Typically, the suave risk-taker takes no prisoners and lives a hectic, decadent life. They only care about the big win and do not consider whom they must step over to succeed.
Think about “Wall Street,” “Boiler Room,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and “Jerry Maguire”: But how much of this is representative of reality, or is it all just manufactured drama? The answer: Mostly the latter.
Most of us know that Buddy Fox and Bob Sugar of the world are not the right fit for our sales teams. But what traits does an actual top-performing salesperson have, and what is the right mix? So let’s take a closer look.
An article from the Harvard Business Review states that “91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility.” This data may seem counterintuitive until you consider that effective reps don’t turn off prospects with bravado or aggressiveness; rather, it is the effective polite and friendly message.
Read closely because we’re not talking about the “ABCs” of sales … Always Be Closing. No, the ABC model is often tied to closing a deal. The best salespeople link urgency not to receiving the contract’s signature but to implementing the solution that delivers results. The urgency should revolve around the customer, not about themselves.
Each customer is unique; so, too, are their needs. Two companies may need the same piece of manufacturing equipment, but they may need them for different reasons. A rep’s sales approach must focus on the customer’s needs. This attention to detail comes through in their preparation; how much do they know about the customer? What unique questions have they prepared? How have they customized their presentation? What relevant case studies are they prepared to share?
Effective salespeople enjoy meeting people. Sales is a numbers game, and with an extensive network of peers and contacts, reps are more likely to have a steady flow of funnel activity. Being sociable with clients and creating relationships is beneficial because not everyone is necessarily in the market to buy your product at all times. Still, by building and maintaining rapport with them, reps can be there when the time is right.
Salespeople often hear “No” but can’t get discouraged. Many people are competing to get the time and attention of executives and decision-makers. Top performers maintain a positive attitude about working the sales process and realize that sales is a numbers game. The more opportunity that goes into the top of the funnel delivers more deals out of the bottom.
You want people who are not only driven to win deals but who are motivated to drive customer success. Because when they win a sale, you win a customer. Hopefully, it is a profitable customer your business will have for a long time. Being driven means they will show more ambitious and creative approaches to their sales presentations.
So don’t be fooled by the person who thinks they have to act like Gordon Gecko to succeed in the sales world. The truth is, a team of salespeople that all act like the characters in the movies will probably do a lot more damage to your company than good.
Learn more about how Kodiak Group’s approach can help build a sales transformation program that improves the skills and behavior of your team and gives you a competitive advantage.