What does it take to get to the top? We’ve gathered a list of the top 20 skills, strategies and techniques the top 20 per cent use to get there:
1. The top 20 per cent are committed to learning and using proven skills, techniques and strategies to become the best at what they do. They refuse to ad-lib their way through their careers, and they would never ad-lib their way through qualifying or closing a sale. They are committed to improving by using and perfecting their sales skills and techniques.
2. The top 20 per cent are the best listeners in the office. They know the value of asking questions and the importance of listening to and allowing their prospects to tell them how to sell them. They listen three times more than they talk. Because of this, the top 20 per cent know exactly what their prospects’ unique buying motives are, as well as their potential objections.
3. The top 20 per cent focus on their client’s needs and desires. They project an attitude of solving rather than selling. They concentrate on offering their clients complete solutions to their problems. They offer more than just the product or service, and they often call their clients with new solutions and ideas that will help them.
4. The top 20 per cent know their numbers. They keep track of how many calls they make in a day, how many contacts, and how many closes. They know the relationship between these numbers, and they use this information to measure their performance and improvement. Knowing their numbers allows them to know how much each cold call is worth, how much each close is worth, what the best time of day for contacts is and much more.
5. The top 20 per cent record and listen to their calls. They know that the best way to improve is to listen to and critique their calls with their manager or supervisor. By doing this, they are able to zero in on areas that need improvement.
6. The top 20 per cent know that positive results follow a positive attitude. Most of all, their self-talk is encouraging. When they make a mistake, they don’t beat themselves up; they commit to doing better on the next call.
7. The top 20 per cent are organized and prepared before they get on the phone. They have learned everything they can about their prospect, their prospect’s needs and possible objections. They research their current clients and do everything they can to be successful before they ever pick up the phone.
8. The top 20 per cent are some of the hardest working sales reps in the industry. They are often the first ones at the office, and they usually have logged in calls or closed deals before the rest of the team shows up. They would rather spend “downtime” doing research or preparing for their next close.
9. The top 20 per cent set time aside at the end of the day to prepare for the next day. They prioritize their closes, prepare their leads, do their research, and are organized. By preparing, they are able to visualize positive results. They aren’t driven by voice mail, e-mail and faxes. Rather, they follow their success plan and make the most of their time.
10. The top 20 per cent stay on top of their industry and learn all they can about their product or service. They read industry newsletters to learn about their clients’ needs, wants and desires, and they incorporate this information in their presentations to make them more valuable to their clients and to become more successful in their careers.
11. The top 20 per cent know their competition and understand who and what they are selling against. They research their competitors, request information, and let reps from other companies pitch them. They learn from their competitors and are never surprised by other quotes or competitive offers.
12. The top 20 per cent implement new techniques. They listen to webcasts and CDs on sales strategies, and they apply what they learn to fit their product or sales presentation. They are always improving.
13. The top 20 per cent subscribe to and receive tips, techniques, newsletters and e-mail from the top sales trainers in the industry. They know they don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful.
14. The top 20 per cent work on their voice, their speech, and the delivery of their pitch. They understand how important their phone presence is, and by recording themselves and by concentrating on the pacing, the tone, the timing and the delivery of their pitch, they improve.
15. The top 20 per cent spend more time qualifying their prospects then they do closing them. They understand that the sale is made by finding out what the client’s needs are and by finding out what the client wants to avoid. They know that by asking the right questions and listening to the responses, they will have all the necessary information to close a sale.
16. The top 20 per cent are prepared for objections they get over and over again by listing the top three to five. Then they write scripts to handle these objections. The scripts enable them to listen more effectively to what their client’s real objections are because they aren’t busy trying to think of what they should say next. They listen and respond to their client’s needs and objections.
17. The top 20 per cent question and isolate an objection before they answer it. While 80 per cent of sales reps immediately respond to an objection, top reps know that the first objection can often be a smokescreen covering the real objection. They use proven techniques to question and isolate an objection before answering it. A top 20 per cent favourite is: “(Prospect) if the (objection or concern) wasn’t an issue, is this a solution that would work for you?”
18. The top 20 per cent know how to build instant rapport. If they sense that a gatekeeper or prospect is annoyed or in a rush, they address it rather than try to download their pitch. They use scripted responses like, “It sounds like I’m not the first person to call you today,” or “Do you get a lot of these kinds of calls?” This breaks the ice and separates them from the other 80 per cent who are trying to get through.
19. The top 20 per cent aren’t afraid of no. In fact, they expect and are prepared to hear it. They understand that not everyone they speak with will buy from them, so they have developed ways to make every call successful. If they can’t get a lead or sale on a particular call, they find a way to develop a relationship and either become the next vendor in line or they get a referral.
20. Lastly, the top 20 per cent build their business faster than the other 80 per cent by asking for and working referrals. They ask each and every person they speak with for a referral, even the ones that don’t buy! They understand the value of their calls, and they are committed to maximizing their time on the phone. Are you?