Author: Sean O'Shaughnessey

10 Reasons Why Top Salespeople Are Successful

10 Reasons Why Top Salespeople Are Successful

Salespeople are the lifeblood of any company, but they are a unique breed of people. They are responsible for bringing in new customers and generating revenue. They often have to work long hours, put in extra effort, and make quick decisions that can either make or break the deal. It’s no wonder, then, that companies are always on the lookout for top salespeople.

But what makes a top salesperson? And how can you become one? Check out these ten reasons why top salespeople are successful. The list is not in any order as nearly all top salespeople do all of these things, and, in fact, they probably want to do each item even better than they currently perform the role.

  1. Top salespeople do what they love to do
  2. Top salespeople know precisely what they want
  3. Top salespeople back their sales goals with perseverance
  4. Top salespeople commit to lifelong learning
  5. Top salespeople use their time well
  6. Top salespeople follow the leaders
  7. Top salespeople know that character is everything
  8. Top salespeople use their natural creativity
  9. Top salespeople practice the golden rule
  10. Top salespeople pay the price of success

1. Top salespeople do what they love to do

Being a top salesperson requires more than just a love of the sale itself. It requires an innate ability to connect with people, an unwavering dedication to meeting goals, and a passion for selling the product or service.

However, the heart of a top salesperson is their love of the job. No matter how challenging the sale may be, they maintain a positive attitude and remain focused on their goals. This passion drives them to succeed, no matter what obstacles they face. Without this essential ingredient, even the most talented salesperson will eventually fall behind.

So if you want to be a top salesperson, find something you love to do and dedicate yourself to it wholeheartedly. Only then will you have the necessary drive to succeed.

2. Top salespeople know exactly what they want

Top salespeople are go-getters. They know what they want, and they go after it with a passion. They are driven to succeed and will stop at nothing to reach their goals. This single-minded focus is what sets them apart from the rest.

They don’t just sell; they close deals. And they don’t just close deals; they get the sale.

Top salespeople are also great communicators. They know how to build rapport and establish trust with their clients. They are excellent listeners and learn how to ask the right questions to uncover needs. As a result, top salespeople can create solutions that address their clients’ pain points. This allows them to close more deals and achieve tremendous success.

3. Top salespeople back their sales goals with perseverance

Top salespeople understand that achieving their sales goals requires hard work and perseverance. They don’t give up when they face rejection or encounter obstacles. Instead, they view these challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. They know that each “no” brings them one step closer to a “yes.”

They also believe in their products and services and stay focused on the positive outcomes that their potential customers can experience. This confidence allows them to stay motivated even when the going gets tough.

When top salespeople set their sights on a goal, they are fully committed to achieving it. They don’t let anything get in their way. This tenacity is a significant reason why they are so successful.

4. Top salespeople commit to lifelong learning

Top salespeople are always learning. They are constantly reading books, taking courses, and attending seminars. They understand that the best way to stay ahead of the competition is to keep learning and growing.

Top salespeople also know that they can learn from their colleagues and customers. They are always on the lookout for new ideas and perspectives. As a result, they can adapt to change and remain at the top of their game.

Top salespeople understand that lifelong learning is essential to success. They are committed to continuously improving their skills and knowledge to provide the best possible service to their clients.

5. Top salespeople use their time well

Top salespeople are well aware of the importance of time management. They know that time is precious, and every minute counts when making a sale. Top salespeople use their time wisely, spending it on activities leading to results.

They are masters of prioritization, knowing which tasks are the most important and which can wait.

Time management is a critical skill for any salesperson, and the top salespeople have mastered it. Top salespeople also know how to delegate, freeing up their time to focus on tasks only they can do. As a result, they can sell more and achieve greater success.

6. Top salespeople follow the leaders

Top salespeople are always looking for an edge. They know that to be the best, they must learn from the best. So they study the top performers in their field, observing what works and what doesn’t.

Top salespeople are also willing to take risks. They know that they must be willing to put everything on the line to achieve big things. They also keep an eye on emerging trends, so they can be among the first to adopt new selling strategies. They’re not afraid of failure because they know that even the greatest salespeople have had their share of setbacks.

Top salespeople are constantly striving to improve, and they know that the only way to do that is to learn from their own mistakes and those of others. By following the leaders in their field, they can ensure that they’re always at the top of their game.

7. Top salespeople know that character is everything

Top salespeople know that character is everything. Sometimes, the key to success is simply being a good person.

Top salespeople are known for their integrity, their drive, and their commitment to their craft. They are also known for building relationships and connecting with people. These qualities allow them to establish trust with potential clients and close deals.

In a competitive industry, top salespeople know that character can make all the difference. By being honest, hardworking, and passionate, they set themselves apart from the rest and achieve success.

8. Top salespeople use their natural creativity

Top salespeople are often those who are the most creative. They can think outside the box and develop new and innovative ways to sell their product. This allows them to stand out from the competition and make more sales.

Creativity is often crucial in negotiating deals and developing new ideas to increase revenue. Top salespeople understand that being creative is not just about coming up with new ideas but also about being able to execute those ideas. They can take their creativity and turn it into results.

9. Top salespeople practice the golden rule

Top salespeople practice the golden rule: always treat your customers the way you would want to be treated. They know that every customer is different, and they take the time to get to know each one to provide the best possible service.

They build relationships with their clients and work hard to earn their trust.

Top salespeople are also great communicators. They listen carefully to their customers and make sure they understand their needs. They then use this information to tailor their sales pitch, so it resonates with the customer.

Finally, top salespeople follow up after the sale to ensure their customer is happy with their purchase. Top salespeople treat each customer respectfully and provide superb service, creating lasting relationships that result in repeat business and referrals.

10. Top salespeople pay the price of success

Top salespeople are often the highest earners in a company. However, they don’t always have an easy time achieving success. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reach the top; even then, it’s not always guaranteed.

Top salespeople often work long hours, make constant phone calls, and travel frequently. They may also have to deal with rejection regularly. This can be demanding and exhausting, but top salespeople know that the rewards are worth the effort.

They understand that success doesn’t come easy but is attainable if they’re willing to pay the price.

How can you become a top salesperson?

Becoming a top salesperson is not easy, but it is possible. Don’t try thought unless you love being in sales. You also must decide exactly what you want and achieve your goals with perseverance. You must commit yourself to lifelong learning and use your time well. It takes dedication and hard work to achieve this level of success. It takes commitment to knowledge, practicing the skills needed, and following in the footsteps of those who have come before you. If you are willing to put in the work and focus on developing your character above all else, then you can join the ranks of the best salespeople in the world.

With these tips in mind, you can begin practicing the habits of successful salespeople and start moving up the ladder. How will you become a top salesperson?

Ask Better Questions To Close More Deals

Ask Better Questions To Close More Deals

Asking questions is one of the most effective conversation techniques for a sales call. It shows that you’re interested in the customer’s business and demonstrates your curiosity about their needs. Asking questions also gives you an opportunity to gather the information that can help you close the sale. However, it’s important to avoid asking too many questions or coming across as pushy. The key is to strike a balance between being interested and being intrusive. By using questions strategically, you can build rapport, gather information, and ultimately close the sale.

Asking questions is key to uncovering the initiatives and goals for the company during the Discovery phase of your sales process. The more that you discover with your questions, the more that you will be able to tailor your sales efforts to appeal to the various decision-makers within the prospect. You will also be able to decide if your product’s benefits are valuable enough to spend time selling to the prospect.

Not all questions are created equal. To be effective, questions should be carefully crafted to elicit specific information. They should also be asked in a way that shows genuine curiosity and concern. When used correctly, questions can help you to create a deeper connection with your prospective customer and increase your chances of making a successful sale.

In order to build rapport with a prospect and earn trust, you need to be an active listener as well as a skilled speaker. This means asking questions to get a better understanding of their business, their needs, and their goals. It also means showing genuine curiosity and interest in what they have to say. Only by taking the time to truly listen can you hope to build the foundation for a successful business relationship.

Of course, questions must be used wisely. You will come across as pushy or intrusive if you ask too many questions. But if you use them judiciously, questions can be a powerful tool for building relationships and closing deals.

Great basis for questions

You probably shouldn’t ask these specific questions but they will probably get you started in the right direction.

  • What is working?
  • What isn’t working?
  • When it works, what good things happen?
  • When it doesn’t work, what bad things happen?
  • Who is affected when it doesn’t work?
  • Who is affected when it does work?
  • How much does it cost when it doesn’t work?
  • What are their goals?
  • What challenges are they facing?
  • May I ask you some questions about your business?
  • Could you tell me about your business?
  • What happens in the world that causes you to lose money as a company?
  • You specialize in X. Why did you choose that niche?
  • What does your manager hope to accomplish in the next year?
  • How does your company evaluate new products or services before buying?
  • Why would you commit time and resources to something that’s low to medium priority?
  • Tell me about your average day. How would this solution impact your daily work?
  • What’s holding your team back from reaching your goals?
  • Was budget a barrier in solving this problem previously?
  • Why is this a priority for you now?
  • Why haven’t you tried to solve the problem before?
  • Who are you doing business with now? Why did you choose that vendor?
  • Is there anyone else you think I should speak with?
  • What is the business problem you’re trying to solve?
  • What are the priorities for your business/team this quarter?
  • What are your biggest pain points?
  • What events are you attending this year?
  • Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth?
  • When is a good date to follow up?

Showing that you understand their needs will make it more likely that they’ll want to do business with you. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your sales calls are more effective and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Many sales campaigns are effective because of the questions that the salesperson asks. Good questions display business acumen and curiosity, two qualities that customers respect. They also give the salesperson an opportunity to understand the customer’s needs and pain points. Asking questions also shows that the salesperson is engaged in the conversation and is truly interested in helping the customer. Consequently, questions should be a key part of any sales call.

Photo by Alex Green:
Selling To A Committee

Selling To A Committee

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, buying committees are getting larger. Salespeople have no option but to become skilled at dealing with buying committees.

Whenever a company makes a purchase decision that involves a team of people, factors including self-interests, politics, and group dynamics will influence the final decision. Tension, drama, and conflict are normal parts of group dynamics because purchase decisions typically are not made unanimously.

One critical research finding is that 90% of study participants confirmed that there is always or usually one member of the evaluation committee who tries to influence and bully the decision their way. Moreover, this person is successful in getting the vendor they want selected 89% of the time. In practicality, it can be said that a salesperson doesn’t have to win over the entire selection committee, only the individual who dominates it.

According to Gartner, the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group. At the same time, the set of options and solutions buying groups can consider is expanding as new technologies, products, suppliers, and services emerge.

These dynamics make it increasingly difficult for customers to make purchases. In fact, more than three-quarters of the customers Gartner surveyed described their purchase as very complex or difficult.

Understand the Power Matrix

As you meet people and develop a sales opportunity within your prospect, you need a tool to help you make sure you develop relationships with the correct people with the appropriate power and influence to help you.

The Power Matrix is a great tool to understand the organization. I promise you, that if you can successfully fill out the Power Matrix in every account, you will be phenomenally successful. You can read more about the Power Matrix here and learn much more in my book Eliminate Your Competition.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Map Out Committees Early On

It’s often impossible for an outsider to get a clear picture of an organization’s internal structure and personnel layout, but we’re better equipped to map it out than ever. One simple first step is to pull up a list of the company’s employees on LinkedIn and seek out job titles that are commonly involved with researching vendors or choosing solutions.

If you’ve already developed a solid relationship with one contact at a company, you might consider asking them outright about additional key players. (“Is there anyone else on your team I should be chatting with about this? Would you mind introducing me?”)

Work with Marketing to Build and Shape Brand Awareness

One pitfall that can disrupt a unified front in the buying committee is when one member takes a liking to your solution, but another has never heard of your company. You can mitigate this risk by collaborating with your marketing colleagues on strategic brand awareness efforts. The tools available through LinkedIn make it easy to target your ads toward particular accounts, titles, or seniority levels.

And remember, it’s not just awareness that matters, but perception. Ads and content need to portray your brand in the right way — the same way you’re trying to sell it. So it’s crucial that the sales team take an interest in helping to create marketing messaging.

Keep Track of Movement within Accounts

Buying committees aren’t static. People enter, leave, and change roles. This is why we consider multithreading (connecting with numerous people at an account) to be so critical and why the ability to save accounts and leads in Sales Navigator is such an integral feature.

When you do so, you’ll receive sales updates that keep you posted on job changes and other important developments with your prospects. This enables you to react quickly and ensure you’re not losing touch with a committee without even realizing it.

Make Content Easy to Share

Ideally, the compelling content you share with your contacts on a buying committee will be shared with other members. Take steps to facilitate this outcome by ensuring your documents, videos, links, and pricing sheets are easy to pass along.

When it comes to making large purchase decisions, involving a team of people will always be messy. There will be tension, drama, and conflict as everyone tries to assert their own self-interests and negotiate for what they want. This is normal, and you should expect it. The key is not to let these dynamics derail the process or prevent you from selling your product. Learn to navigate these waters and understand how group dynamics can influence decision-making. You can sell your product with the right approach even when faced with committee buy-in challenges.

Send A Newsletter To Your Clients And Prospects

Send A Newsletter To Your Clients And Prospects

A newsletter is the best tool for maintaining a relationship with existing customers and qualified prospects that are uninterested at this time. I suggest that you send out your newsletter at least every quarter, but it would be more effective if you send it every month to your mailing list. I also suggest that you post your newsletter to LinkedIn using their blogging capability.

Of course, sending out a newsletter assumes that you are using a CRM to manage your relationships. If you aren’t using a CRM, you need to start immediately. I have written about CRM strategies in the past if you want a little more background.

Your customers should all receive your newsletter. Your customers need to be constantly cultivated for new business. Also, your customers may change jobs, and you want them to call you immediately. They will only do this if you have been consistently adding value to their working lives. Remember, the only way that you add value to a prospect is by making that prospect smarter. You can help an existing customer a few more ways by offering good customer service, but the most proactive method is to make them smarter.

It is not practical for me to put a template of a newsletter into this blog and have it be useful for every reader but below are some suggested sections:

  • Title/Subject: Make sure your title clearly states that this is a newsletter. Your title will be in your subject line of your email, and it will be at the top of your blog post on LinkedIn. You want your email recipients to know that this is an email to many people.
  • First section: A personal note of about 100-200 words on your industry or the local situation. Don’t be afraid to congratulate the local college for a great sports season. It should be personal and, if your prospects are local, it should be relevant to your geography.
  • Second section: News from your company. This literally could be a copy of a relevant or important press release. If someone in your product marketing group puts out a blog, that can be great content. Just make sure you include a URL link to the original content.
  • Third section: Links with a short description to download some new company content. Perhaps a new whitepaper was published, or a new video on YouTube.
  • Fourth section: This section contains selected paragraphs from a published article. This article should not mention your company but rather be about your industry. You don’t want this article to be a sales pitch, but rather it is included only to make your prospect smarter.
  • Fifth section: Links to upcoming events that you or your company is participating in. If you don’t have any events coming up in the next year, list a few links for events from your partners or maybe industry associations.
  • Sixth section: It may be relevant to have a bit of humor at the bottom of your newsletter. There are several open-source cartoons that you can embed. Of course, you need to be extremely careful that the humor is non-offensive to any demographic group and should be non-political. If you can’t do this well, skip the humor.
  • Seventh section: Give directions on how to unsubscribe and your contact information (including your physical address). This will help to keep you from being black listed by the various agencies that watch for spamming activities. If you use your CRM to create your newsletter or a campaign management tool (see below) then that template or tool should force you to put this into your newsletter.

Somewhere in the newsletter, either in the footer or in your opening section, make sure you invite people to connect to you on LinkedIn.

Building a newsletter is not difficult, but it may be a struggle for you depending on your skills or time constraints. There are a couple of tools that you can use:

  • Use your CRM: In many cases, your CRM will have tools built into the tool that will help you build and manage a newsletter. If it does, it will typically have a series of modifiable templates. This will make your delivery easier. Using that template, customize it to meet your company’s color scheme and then fill in the content on a monthly and quarterly basis.
  • Use a campaign management tool: Tools such as ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp are very easy to use if you are familiar with Microsoft Word. They each offer many templates that are easy to customize and save. They also easily accept a CSV import from your CRM or maybe Zapier has a direct integration between your CRM and the campaign management tool. If you want more options than the three that I listed here, simply search the web for “best newsletter tools” and you will see dozens of articles reviewing the industry. Don’t spend too much time reviewing all of the options though as no one is going to buy from you because you use one tool over another. They are all probably very good and you simply need to get used to the one that you choose.
  • Your email: Newsletters do not need to be highly formatted templates. In reality, you can simply create an email using your email client and then send it out your top prospects and customers. Just be very careful that you are not sending spam so don’t send more frequently than monthly. Also, if you use a simple email you should include a way for the receiver to unsubscribe from your list (and you should respect that request). It is better if you have a form that they can fill out but as a minimum you need to include similar to: “If you do not wish to receive this regular newsletter from me, please reply with UNSUBSCRIBE.”
  • Hire a service: There are many services available that will handle all of this work for you. Simply Google “marketing services” and then add your zip code and Google will give you several choices that are very close to you. If you don’t know someone in your immediate network that does marketing services, fill out my contact form and I will give you a couple of options of people that can help you that will do a great job. I personally do not offer this service but I have friends that do.

Start your newsletter today. Keep a schedule. The goal is to keep your name in front of as many people as possible and to start to establish yourself as a Trusted Adviser.

If you want to read more about creating a newsletter, there are probably thousands of articles giving you suggestions. Here are a few that are quite good:

  1. 7 Tips for Creating More Engaging Newsletters
  2. How to Create an Email Newsletter People Actually Read
  3. How to Write a Newsletter
Welcome To The Power Matrix

Welcome To The Power Matrix

As you meet people and develop a sales opportunity within your prospect, you need a tool to help you make sure you develop relationships with the correct people with the appropriate power and influence to help you.

The Power Matrix is a great tool to understand the organization. I promise you, if you can successfully fill out the Power Matrix in every account, you will be phenomenally successful.

There are two different versions of the Power Matrix. The Small Power Matrix is for deals that are relatively small. I advise salespeople that the cutoff for a smaller deal is one that is less than approximately 5-10% of your annual quota. This should be varied depending on the product that you sell and your industry in general, but it is unreasonable to use the Large Power Matrix (see below) more than 20 times in a fiscal year – it is just too much work for deals that are smaller than at least 5% of your annual quota.

The Small Power Matrix encourages you to map out nine different people at your prospect. These nine people are in three levels of the organization and three different departments. Graphically, the Small Power Matrix looks like Figure A.

Figure A – Small Power Matrix.

The people in this matrix are people who are in the Decision Group that you can learn about in other posts on this site or in my book Eliminate Your Competition (see below for info). They may not be all of the people, but they will be the most influential. If you think that your Decision Group is smaller than nine people, then I encourage you to do more investigation. There are very few decisions made by organizations that have fewer than nine people that are affected by the decision and therefore do not have an influence on that decision.

It is important to understand that the Power Matrix is not an organizational chart. Rather, it is an influence chart. These are the nine people most likely to influence the decision. Therefore, the end-user in Department 3 doesn’t have to specifically report to the coach’s level of Department 3. Rather, the end-user should respect the opinion of the coach and vice versa.

Similarly, the upper management of Department 3 may not necessarily have the Department Coach as a direct report. However, the upper management person must respect the opinion of the Coach in the Department.

The easiest way to understand the three levels is that people on the same horizontal row have virtually the same organizational power. One person may be a Director, and the other column may contain a Vice President, but that may not be a reflection of power. Often, titles are a reflection of employment tenure and not true power in the organization. It is not unusual for a very bright Director to have as much influence in an organization as a Vice President. This can be especially true between different Departments that may have larger or smaller communities. Don’t let titles sway your analysis; rather, observe the reactions and respect of others to make sure you have the correct person.

I like to put my primary Coach’s name in the center of the chart in the Department 2 column. The Department that the Coach belongs to will be the part of the organization that will most benefit from the final decision. Therefore the upper management person directly above the Coach should be your best possible Champion.

It is possible that your primary Coach is not in the department that will most benefit from the decision. If that is the case, you must consider that you need another Coach. A Coach is most effective when there is a direct personal gain from the decision. Since you can have multiple Coaches in any individual selling campaign, you should consider finding another Coach who is in the department with the most to gain.

In fact, everyone at the Coach level of the Power Matrix should be considered a Coach. One of the goals of the Power Matrix is to try to force you to develop three Coaches. The primary Coach will be the one who has the most to gain, but you should find and develop Coaches in other departments. You can never have enough Coaches to help you win your deal.

The Power Matrix is not an organizational chart, it is an influence chart

Large Power Matrix

The Large Power Matrix is very similar to the Small Power Matrix. The Large Power Matrix is used for sales opportunities that are forecasted to be more than 10% of your annual quota. In other words, these are decisions that, if guided correctly, could significantly enhance your earnings. With a reasonable win rate, it is doubtful that you would have to do more than 10 of the Large Power Matrix analyses in any given year.

The Small Power Matrix is a 3×3 matrix. It is asking you to have in-depth conversations with three people in three different departments. The Large Power Matrix is more of an investment in time; it is asking you to identify five people in five different departments. It is a 5×5 matrix and is shown in Figure B.

Figure B – Large Power Matrix

Similar to the Small Power Matrix, the Coach with the most to gain should go in the center of the Power Matrix. I encourage you to put Departments that have less to gain on the outside (columns 1 and 5) and those with more to gain next to the middle column.

In the Large Power Matrix, it is even more likely that it will not line up with an organizational chart. It is not uncommon to have several Vice Presidents and several Directors in any given department. The virtual influence on this one decision may be larger with one Director than another even though both are at the same organizational level. The more powerful person would be higher on the Power Matrix. Also, other Departments may not be devoting as many people to the effort, and therefore the rankings on any given column are different.

Below the Coach level are the end-users. In a larger decision, some end users will be more affected than others. Also, one end user may be asked to be involved in all aspects of the decision, but another will only be asked to occasionally help. The occasional user would be listed on the lowest row of the Power Matrix while the more active user would be listed closer to the Coach.

You should begin to use the Power Matrix to keep track of whom you know and how well you know them. You will need to put a plan together to meet and understand the people who are openings in your Power Matrix.

If you are confused about how to use the Large or Small Power Matrix, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via my contact form.

You can also get more information about the use of the Power Matrix by reading my book, Eliminate Your Competition. You may purchase my book, Eliminate Your Competition, from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Header image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Marketing And Sales Is Like Football

Marketing And Sales Is Like Football

In a complex B2B sale, the salesperson’s job is to enhance and personalize the marketing message for the buyer. The salesperson is supposed to deliver the information from the company to the decision-maker in a way that effectively shows the product and company in the best light for that particular prospect. 

The easiest way to show this is via a vector diagram. While I understand that vector mathematics may be scary for some readers, they are not that difficult to comprehend.

Figure A: Marketing message for commodity products.

As we can see in Figures A and B, the goal is to convince the prospect that the company’s product is the best product for this purchase. Marketing has to deliver content to all prospects, so it cannot perfectly align the message to the specific goals of the individual prospect. Also, since Marketing has no knowledge of which competitors are in play in that particular situation, they cannot efficiently deliver traps in most cases. Therefore, we see that the messaging from Marketing is not the shortest distance from your company to the finish line of winning the decision by the prospect.

In Figure A, the product sold is a commodity-type product. In this case, the marketing message is entirely adequate to convince the prospect to buy the product. Even though the message is not perfectly aligned to the prospect’s specific needs, the product’s benefits are sufficiently understood to get across the line.

In Figure B this is not the case. In Figure B, the message is still not perfectly aligned to the prospect’s needs, and it is not adequate to make a decision. It may not be enough information, and it also may not be the correct type of information. Therefore, a salesperson needs to fill in the information to cover the gap.

Figure B: Marketing and sales message for non-commodity products.

This information gap is why it is so important for salespeople to exist. They need to take the information that is created by the marketing department and efficiently deliver it to the prospect. Great salespeople need to package information so that the prospect can make the desired decision. 

It is impossible for the marketing department to create a targeted value pitch to every prospect. The more efficient the salesperson is in packaging this information to control the buying process, the more products that the salesperson will sell and the higher his or her commission.

The above analysis is not to give the marketing department a break in delivering fantastic content. It should be the goal of all marketing departments to provide content that can be easily repackaged and tuned to the needs of the trap-setting salesperson. The marketing department needs to acknowledge that they are unable to convince the majority of the prospects to make a favorable decision and understand that if they work with imaginative salespeople, sales will come more frequently.

Let me try to explain this with some sports metaphors. In American football, the quarterback and team don’t go straight down the field. They do a series of plays going left and right but always trying for a net forward position. Some plays will be a run to the left, a pass to the right, or a run up the middle. 

Football is very analogous to a sales campaign. The amount sideways that the player travels doesn’t matter. It is only the forward progress that matters. The goal of the football team is to advance the ball to cross the end line, and it doesn’t matter if that is through the middle of the field or in either corner.

Your goal is the same as the football team. You are responsible for getting the ball into the end zone or, more accurately, for closing the order. In football, the offensive team has the goal of moving the ball down the field to the touchdown. They have this goal if they receive the ball on their 49-yard line. They also have this goal if they receive the ball on their 2-yard line. The goal doesn’t change based on the position of the ball on the field. It also doesn’t change for you based on the quality or source of the lead.

By accepting that you cannot use the excuse of a bad marketing department in your success or lack thereof, you will become more successful. Your job is to take the leads that you receive and make them orders. Your job is to take the content that you receive from the marketing department and make it understandable and persuasive to your prospect. The ultimate failure is yours, not your marketing department. It is your job on the line. It is your commission on the line. You must take what marketing has prepared and use it to be successful.

It is not the fault of your marketing department if your literature and website are not perfect matches for your prospects. You need to bridge the gap between the standard marketing message and the fine-tuned and tailored message that will resonate with your prospect.

Take the ball and get it down the field to score. That is what you are paid to do. The great quarterbacks of the NFL do not complain that they always get the ball on their own 15-yard line. They put a plan together and do everything in their power and the power of their team to score a touchdown. You need to do the same. You need to do the same thing because there is no crying in sales.

Curiosity May Not Kill The Cat, But It Definitely Kills Your Quota

Curiosity May Not Kill The Cat, But It Definitely Kills Your Quota

Salespeople are often told to “pitch” their products and services. This is ineffective because it leaves the prospect feeling like they were manipulated and ignored. Instead, the successful salesperson should use curiosity; curiosity is an emotion that encourages people to find out more about you or your company. 

If you want to increase your success rate at closing deals with prospects, try incorporating curiosity into your conversation by asking open-ended questions.

Podcaster Robert Gillette recently interviewed me for his podcast, Reclaiming Sales. In that podcast (which you can listen to here and read the transcript here), I said that salespeople fail because they are not curious.

Some sales trainers will encourage salespeople to be incredibly knowledgeable about a prospect’s business to show situational awareness. In almost all cases, this is a bad strategy. Why would you know more about how that company runs than the managers of the company do? To suggest that you are more capable of running your prospect’s company than they are leaves you open to appearing overly pompous. It is much better to be humble and ask sincere questions about their operations.

“You make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

For decades, marketers have known that the best way to keep someone’s attention is by piquing their curiosity. If they’re interested in what you’ve got, they’ll stick around and interact with your message. It seems like such a simple idea, but it’s one of the most powerful tools in marketing today.

The same principle of generating curiosity applies to salespeople, too: if prospects are curious about what we can offer them, they will be more likely to invest time working with us on their request or inquiry than not engaging at all. For this technique to work, though, there has to be something worth being curious about–something that captures people’s imagination.

Recent research suggests that salespeople who are curious about their prospects and customers are more likely to close deals than those who only focus on what they need from them. Curiosity helps us get our prospect’s perspectives to understand better how they think and why they act as they do, which allows us to connect with them on an emotional level and make them want to buy from us.

Salespeople have a unique ability to create curiosity. They can do this by asking insightful, thought-provoking questions that pique the interest of their prospects and customers. To maximize their success in creating curiosity, salespeople must be knowledgeable about what they are selling and how it can benefit the customer or prospect. A salesperson creates curiosity when there is an air of mystery with an underlying promise of satisfaction for those who invest time learning more about the product or service.

The best salespeople create curiosity and capture the attention of their prospects. They do this by creating a dialogue about themselves, their company, or the product they’re selling. You accomplish this through storytelling, humor, and empathy. These are the three legs of your offering that I often discuss on this site.

There are a few ways to use your presentation skills to engage with your audience and generate curiosity. Here are some examples:

  • Quote someone famous, like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, who has said something about their business
  • Give them a story from just last week or last month where they helped someone solve a problem they were having
  • Ask, “What are your biggest business challenges?”
  • Ask, “How do you measure success in your organization?”
  • Ask, “How did you justify that old purchase to your executives?”
  • Ask, “What’s essential in life for you?”
  • Ask, “How do you feel when this happens?”
  • Ask, “How does that work?”
  • Ask, “How did you decide to do it that way?”

In addition, by asking prospects about their company’s goals, salespeople can better understand how they work and what tools they need to succeed.

If you’re a salesperson, it’s essential to know the business problems your customers are facing. That way, you can make sure that what you offer will be relevant and valuable to them. It also helps if you have some ideas for solutions. At least have a list of questions about what they’re looking to accomplish and their company and personal goals. The more information you have about their needs, the better you’ll identify potential solutions and put together a tailored proposal specifically for them. So next time someone asks, “What do I need?” remember these three key points:

  1. Ask why they need it;
  2. Figure out how this will help solve their problem;
  3. Make sure it fits with other items on their agenda.
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