I just recently finished my last trip for 2023…and if you had Dallas on your bingo card, then you are a winner. With a late evening flight, I had time to reflect upon 2023. And I kept coming back to the clients we serve and what a great honor it is to serve them. For those of you who know me, you know that I have always thought that observing great sales talent is one the best parts of my job. And in 2023, from New York to California, I have watched my share of great salespeople.
I feel that way about greatness in general. When I watched Michael Jordan play basketball, I was watching greatness. When I see Adele perform, I am watching greatness. If you watch Lionel Messi play soccer, you are watching greatness.
At the airport last week, the more I thought about great salespeople I realized that there are three key areas where they all excel. I am sure there are many other reasons for their greatness, but here are the 3 keys:
3 Areas Where Great Salespeople Excel
- They have an unquenchable thirst for hunting. They wake up every day and recognize that they must prospect. Sure, there are other things to get done and not everything will get done. But the one thing they refuse to not get done is their prospecting time. To them it is job #1. They demonstrate both desire (a passion to win) and commitment (a willingness to do anything to win assuming legal, moral and ethical boundaries). At the end of the day salespeople fail for only one of two reasons – a lack of effort and/or a lack of skill. And a great salesperson takes a lack of effort off the table.
- They have excellent relationship building skills. They tend to be charismatic people that other people want to be around. They invest intentionally into building relationships and the price they pay to do that is their time. They know everything they need to know about their clients. If you want to be interesting to people you need to be interested in people.
- They excel at consultative selling – they never pitch products. Consultative selling is defined as asking questions and listening. Great salespeople engage their prospects in the “art of gradual self-discovery” where the prospect is allowed the time and space to figure out for themself that they have a problem they need to fix. If you are telling, you are not selling. If you are telling, you are probably boring people to death. Consultative salespeople become trusted advisors to their prospects (even before they win the business). The prospect starts paying more attention to them than they do the current solution provider or vendor.
So here is a tip of the hat to all of the great salespeople from 2023. Do you want to be included on that list in 2024? The work to get there is hard. Understanding how to get there is not.
Chief Growth Officer, Anthony Cole Training Group