4 ways top sellers get their results

by on April 25, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog

Why do some salespeople consistently outperform their colleagues? Do they do something different that gives them an edge?

Author and consultant Chris Bogan conducted extensive field studies on sales forces. The research showed four key skill areas that top performers focus on – skills that allow them to outsell and outearn their colleagues by 20% to 50%.

The studies were focused on pharmaceutical reps, but the same skills apply to nearly every industry. None of them are exotic or unusual. Most salespeople would agree that they’re important. However, the research found that top salespeople work at these skills with uncommon focus and consistency.

Here are the four key drivers of success among these top-tier reps:

1. They back the winners
Top salespeople were ruthless in how they targeted their top prospects. They knew how much potential revenue each customer represented and matched their efforts accordingly.

For example, they built their call lists and route schedules around these best prospects. They blocked in these appointments first, and then filled in other appointments around these.

They gave special emphasis to the buyers who were most likely to drive future growth, not just current sales.

Less successful salespeople knew who their best customers were, of course. But their call routes didn’t prioritize their top prospects as effectively. They were more likely to put too much time into servicing low-potential accounts -– for example, by trying to boost sales on underperforming accounts and spending too much time responding to demands from squeaky-wheel, but low-potential, customers.

Top sellers didn’t spend all their time with top buyers, though. Sometimes their best accounts didn’t need much hand-holding. What top reps really focused on was upside potential. They constantly asked themselves, “Where will I get the best return on my time?”

2. They set clear personal goals
The top reps were fervent goal setters. They employed annual goals, trimester targets, daily task lists and clear call objectives. And they always knew where they stood against these goals.

For example, one said, “I’ll think three or four months in advance. If I want to make [top rank status], I need to cover all my products but must excel in three growth products. I track on a daily basis my progress toward these growth targets.”

3. They invest in the future
No matter how pressing the demands of current business, the top performers carved out time to identify and develop the next wave of customers. On average, they allocated 10% to 15% of their time to prospecting. The optimal figure may vary according to industry. The key point is that they scheduled this time and followed it consistently.

4. They’re the best at something
Top reps weren’t the best at everything. But they managed to be the best at something.

All of them knew and practiced the fundamentals. But beyond that, each brought a unique strength to their customer relationships. Some were analytical. Some developed superior product knowledge. Some delivered exceptional service. By emphasizing their strengths, these reps stood out from more generic competitors, and built a base of customers who respected their unique value.

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