What habits make top salespeople successful?
Turns out, top-performing salespeople aren’t necessarily born salesmen. They’ve simply developed the right routines to succeed in sales.
If you want to reach their status, or exceed them, you’re going to have to develop the habits that many successful salespeople refine throughout their careers. Spoiler: It usually starts with knowing what you can and can’t control, and focusing on the things you can.
Here are the ten things that successful salespeople do regularly:
What makes a Good Salesperson?
“Motivation is fickle and fleeting,” says Ashley Zagst, Account Executive at Chili Piper and former SDR lead. She says that, because of that lack of motivation, the key to anyone’s success in sales is “consistent persistence.”
Essentially, the sheer fact that these salespeople keep going, even when facing constant rejection, objections, and communication hoops, sets them apart. Sadly, self-motivation is a trait of good salespeople, rather than a skill you can teach.
But it’s not just that, is it?
“It usually came down to engagement… You know who’s jumping in on Slack convos, who’s eager to grow.”
Ashley says most high-performing SDRs detach themselves from the outcome of the call. They focus instead on understanding the motivations and the emotions that drive decision-making, so they can infuse empathy in a sale.
“Be the annoying kid who asks why? Why? Why?”
Ashley Zagst, Account Executive at Chili Piper
Reps forget that discovery requires curiosity, and curiosity requires passion. Without that interest in digging into the emotions and learning how to tie them to a person and to a sale, you’re less likely to succeed.
But, Ashley reinforces that, while passion is essential, it’s not enough. Without that focus and self-motivation, you won’t keep it up.
Why the Daily Habits of Successful Salespeople Matter
Your daily habits will make a huge difference in your results. Take a look at the graphic below to see the startling difference between average performers and high performers.
Top sales performers are able to have breakout months and quarters, but they’re also able to exceed their quota month after month, year after year, even if they have an odd slump every now and then.
This speaks to just how important consistency is if you want to make the most of your sales career.
But how can you be a consistent closer if there are so many factors outside of your control?
It usually starts with knowing what you can control, and focusing only on those things.
Here are the ten habits of highly effective salespeople:
1. They follow a sales process
While it might be tempting to show up at work and just wing it, consistent salespeople understand that having a process — and good habits as part of that process — is the key to consistently putting up big numbers.
Come up with a daily or weekly game plan, and then execute against that plan.
It doesn’t have to be a minute-by-minute schedule, but you need to have some sort of process to guide you along.
2. They block out distractions
Distractions are a normal part of any person’s day, but for a sales rep, distractions include a random meeting here, a few referrals coming in from there, regular updates to your CRM platform over here…
But then there’s the office politics, regular check-ins and daily competitions with the rest of your sales team (or chats about a crazy call you just had), and trips to the coffee maker.
Top performers understand what matters (pipeline, prospects, closed deals), and they always prioritize accordingly. They also tend to skip much of the other stuff too.
3. When the lows are too low, they find a way out of the lull
Every salesperson gets rejected, faces difficult calls, loses deals, and so on. So maybe it’s a little bit of a trait that they’re able to brush off this rejection and keep moving, motivating themselves.
Or it could just be that they’ve built habits into their schedule for each moment of rejection or difficulty.
Jason Bay, a sales coach, says “Prospects owe you nothing…” and that the best way out of these moments is to figure out what you’re doing that’s causing this issue rather than blaming the customer.
He suggests giving prospects an easy way out, so you can stop blaming them and more easily bounce back from these rejection moments.
“My favorite way to start a sales call is by saying: ‘Oh and by the way, if what we talk about today is not a good fit for you — totally feel free to tell me. You won’t hurt my feelings. Is that something you’re comfortable doing?’”
Jason Bay, Outbound Sales Coach
4. They consistently build up their pipeline
A consistent salesperson understands that their pipeline is what determines whether they sink or swim, and they act accordingly.
No matter what else is happening, for better or worse, top sales performers make time to build up their pipeline and work deals further down the process.
If you do this day in, day out, you’ll never have to worry about where your next deal will come from.
5. Build routines based on their strengths and weaknesses
A salesperson might find that they work best in the morning, and by the time the afternoon arrives, they’re not able to function at their peak.
Understanding this can allow them to schedule the day accordingly, making sure they’re playing to their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
In the video below, Nick Cegelski shares his secrets on how to structure your sales workday for maximum efficiency. Check it out.
6. They take care of their health
Getting enough sleep, avoiding the lows that come with unhealthy food and drinks, and being mindful and proactive about your mental health help you perform at your peak.
Again, this comes back around to motivation to do the work. If you’re lethargic, you’re probably not going to want to speak energetically to customers and dig for motivations in customers. And, since your health also impacts your emotions, you’re going to have a harder time facing rejection if you’re tired and sluggish.
7. They develop habits for productivity
There are likely hundreds of different ways to stay productive, and a lot of their effectiveness depends on the individual.
“A great way to miss quota is to spend 60% of your day muddling around Slack and email. Cut the fat and make an impact.”
Nick Cegelski, AE at Time by Ping
Top salespeople have found the best productivity methods that work for them and implement them daily.
Some of the most effective sales productivity methods are:
- Time blocking
- The Pomodoro Technique (working for 15 minutes taking a break for 5)
- The 80/20 Rule
Cegelski recommends cleaning up your calendar by declining meetings that aren’t relevant to closing deals, shutting down notifications, and treating your “to-do” list like appointments to ensure it all gets done.
8. They set personal goals
Goals play a major role in motivation, and while a lot of salespeople have sales goals, it’s the personal goals that make top performers.
Why? Because it’s your own goal. It’s not something someone’s asking of you, but something you want to strive for, and that makes all the difference.
Ask yourself these questions regularly:
- What are my financial goals?
- What are my long-term goals?
- What is the next step to reaching those goals?
9. They’re Always Building Relationships
While relationships aren’t the only part of sales, they’re completely necessary.
This leans on what Ashley Zagst mentioned earlier — great sales reps are on a quest for the truth. In the case of building relationships, that means they’re curious enough to get to know the customer, their motivations, their objections.
It means getting to know the customer and their pains before prospecting and jumping on a cold call.
It means using listening skills over sales skills.
10. They let the customer come to their own conclusions
“Be so interested that you’re leading to a solution” says Ashley. Meaning, be curious and ask a lot of questions, and that will naturally lead to you as the solution, without you pushing for it.
This involves a lot of conversation reframing with phrases like “That’s right” or “I didn’t think about it that way” as opposed to “you’re right”.
This lets the customer feel they’ve come to their own conclusions, and that’s a win-win for everyone.
Put these Sales Habits into Practice
Some top salespeople possess traits that make them masters at sales. They’re born for it. But that doesn’t mean hope is lost for everyone else. In fact, employing the habits above, knowing your product or service well, and understanding buyer personas even better can go a long way in selling.
To put these sales habits into action:
- Focus on one weakness or skill at a time
- Roleplay with partners to develop in the craft of storytelling and objection handling
- Learn why your leads say no, or why they ghost you. Get that clarification, and then make changes to your sales processes.
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