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Secrets of Expert Sales People

March 7, 2011

I find top salespeople fascinating because of the exceptional ways they achieve. A large company gave me the opportunity to interview a group of high performing and average sales and what I found gave me several “ah-HA” moments. These high-performing sales reps had a broad understanding of their competitors and their competition’s products knowing how to argue against each benefit their counterparts might propose. Beyond selling against their competitors, they thought of techniques to gain a leg up. One of the reps, for example, uncovered then memorized the travel schedule of her competitor and would time her sales calls a week before the other rep would visit the territory. She was not only calling on customers ahead of the competition, but when she made a sale she further demoralized the other sales representative.

One of the most interesting differences between the two groups was that money was more of a motivator for the average performers than experts. In my work with expert performers, I found that salespeople who pursue money alone are like a gardener who expects to harvest vegetables without planting seeds. The average performer chases less than promising leads without creating a focused plan of attack to grow the whole territory. They become scattered and unfocused. They may have a few wins while the high performers win big.

When compared to the average performer, high performers are superior architects beginning each year with a plan to win business and an understanding where this business will come from. Average performers instead react to easy and obvious opportunities rather than execute a detailed plan to uncover new business.

Bottom line: Discover where your sales will come from for the year. Dig deep into your competition fully understanding all the features of their service or product and prepare yourself to sell against those features and product. Know how your competition sells. Realize that you may have to plant a lot of seeds before you harvest. Win big!