Written by Sean McPheat |
Excellence is a word that is bandied about so much these days that it can often lose its meaning or its differentiation.
The dictionary defines it as ‘being exceptional, being superior in some way, achieving extreme merit, pre-eminence or distinction’.
When we use the term, we commonly confuse it with something that is just better or an improvement of some sort.
However, for something or someone to be given the accolade of ‘excellence’, we must be more than just better; we need to identify the qualities that deserve the term, or we are in danger of diminishing the stand-out qualities that are required to receive the honour.
To achieve excellence in sales, we need to lay the foundations that support and enable the results we need to achieve. I wrote about the qualities of a good salesperson. Here, we discuss a further six key components that create excellence in salespeople and make them stand out from the crowd.
The first three are classed as intrapersonal skills (internally focussed) and the others are interpersonal (externally focussed). Each one will assist in the development of quality and stature.
Develop A Full Range of Skills & Attributes
The top salespeople we have encountered take their own personal development very seriously. They create and implement a development plan for themselves that include seeking out Selling Skills Training and Sales Coaching opportunities, reading, listening to and watching subject matter experts, update their product knowledge, develop their industry knowledge and plan their career progression in such a way that it enhances opportunities at every step.
Also, they see how new technologies their own company and competitors are producing add value to the industry, learning how these advancements affect and add value from their customers’ perspectives.
Accept Change as The Norm & Embrace It for Progressing Salesmanship
Great value-creators recognise that they must build a clear and flexible path through the changes their customers and industry must go through. They understand that their products and services must be instrumental in driving those changes. This requires the mindset to be adaptable to whatever circumstances the customer may throw at them.
The high-quality salesperson will recognise the lessons that past teaches, grab hold of the opportunities the present offers and develop the foresight to apply those learnings to the future. In other words, they see the only thing they really have control over are those future opportunities.
By recognising the future is a blank slate ready to be written upon, the great salesperson doesn’t harbour resentment over what has occurred but treats it as a school to learn how to build resilience and elasticity in their future.
It’s a shift in their sales mindset that makes them stand out from the rest.
Understand The Customer’s Business As Well As The Customer Does
Yes, it takes time, diligence, effort, and guile, but it differentiates the haves from the have-nots in terms of knowledge and partnership abilities. Treating your customer’s business like your own means you build trust, and with that comes the openness and exposure that allows you access to the inner sanctum. By having the attitude of curiosity, great salespeople build reasons for customers to develop close business relationships with them, hence reducing the emphasis on price that might let in competitive offerings.
Sales follow ups become regular check ins not to sell them something but as an opportunity to be of service and to help expecting nothing back in return. When they do have some requirements, they will come back to you. You just need to be always in front of their mind but without annoying them.
Be Passionate About Service & Business Results
Passion is a chosen response when you feel enthusiastic and engaged with a project or task. Great salespeople choose this emotion wisely and use it to drive their actions and responses.
Having a passion for something engages you like nothing else does. Without it, you lack the inspiration or drive to concentrate on excellence or quality responses. Having passion separates you from the masses who allow the ‘that’ll-do’ attitude to affect their diligence. Having passion for business results helps you build value in the customer’s eyes as they recognise the impact your intensity and desire for improvement has on their business
Build Relationships Throughout The Customer’s Business
High-quality salespeople recognise the value of building many strong relationships throughout their accounts. This allows them to build business acumen and confidence when dealing with various people at differing levels. They see the value of discussing financials with the accounts team, talking strategies with the sales management team, and highlighting technological advancements with the product-development team.
This allows a clear understanding of the shared needs and unique concerns of each component that makes up the customer’s decision-making teams and allows trust to be engendered throughout the purchase experience.
Each of these components need to synergise together to create an overall impression of professionalism so that the salesperson is seen as a major asset to the customer’s business rather than just another supplier who blends in with the competition. A supplier often has to play the price dance whereas a trusted advisor does not need to constantly overcome sales objections as the customer sees their worth and value.
It takes time to determine which of these components are best developed and utilised with every account; but they offer a differential that will set you apart in many customer’s eyes as someone who is indispensable to their future journey.
Originally published: 2 July, 2015
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