by Jeffrey Gitomer
If you hold interviews with the most successful salespeople in the world and ask them, “Why are you successful?,” they’ll give you their take on it, but it will not be the right answer. They will give you symptomatic responses like, “I get up early in the morning” or “I work hard every day” or “I’m willing to do what other people are not willing to do” or “I ask a lot of questions” or “I put my customers first.”
All of those answers and those characteristics will not help another salesperson become more successful. I would rather hear something like, “I have coffee with one customer every morning at 7:30” or “I pre-prepare three questions before every sales meeting -- engaging, thought-provoking questions about what I believe are the emotional elements of my customers’ desires” or “I take notes when the customer is talking to be certain I capture his needs and my promises.”
The differences are subtle.
Most successful salespeople have no concept of why they are successful, or perhaps they have no ability to make it clear, or maybe they never even gave it much thought.
Yes, the salesperson asked lots of questions, but the secret is to get to the motive of the person wanting to buy. The questions he or she asked drew out emotion and buying motive, and as a result, the salesperson created a buying atmosphere.
So, when I interview successful salespeople, I want to make sure that if I’m asking them why they are successful, I get to the what they actually do behind their perception of why.
Yesterday I interviewed two multimillion-dollar producers. I asked them what they did to get to their top positions. Here are the net results (what I asked + what they said + how I interpreted it + how they agreed it really was after I restated/reworded it):
1. They are persistent without being pests. Following up professionally and consistently with value messages and firm reasons to buy. Their key: Never miss one follow-up.
2. They build real relationships. More than just a sale. Investing quality time with each customer beyond the sale.
3. A high percentage of customers give repeat orders without a bid, quote or proposal. This is a result of trust and relationship.
4. They pass on the sale if the deal isn’t a good fit or good profit. They are not afraid to lose a sale or pass on a sale if it’s a no-profit one or one that goes outside their business safety.
5. They make recommendations that favor the customer, not the salesperson’s wallet. They do what is best for the long term instead of just making the sale.
6. They think “customer,” not “sale.” That strategy leads to customer loyalty.
7. They think “ask,” not “tell.” Great salespeople discover needs and motives by asking, not by giving a sales pitch. (SECRET: They don’t use the slide deck provided by marketing because it didn’t help them make a sale.)
8. They think “friendly,” not “professional.” Their relationships are enhanced by the relaxed attitude found in friendships.
9. They think “service,” not “quota.” They found that the better they serviced their accounts, the easier it was to get the next order. They never worried about their “sales plan” or quota.
10. They are accessible and available. All of their customers can text when needed.
11. They are trusted by their customers. The trust they have has been earned slowly over time. Customers ask for their advice before they buy.
12. They are truthful at all costs. Relationships based on truth end up being relationships based on trust.
13. They are experts about their product and their market. Their customers want to know their salesperson is an expert, not just a nice guy.
13.5. As a result of all the other things they do for their customers, they get referrals, often without asking. Referrals are not just leads; they’re report cards.
Now, you can say anything you want to about this list. But be careful what you say because this is from salespeople who make big sales and are putting major money in the bank. How major are you?
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books, including The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. His best-selling 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling is now available as a book and an online course at www.gitomerVT.com. For public event dates and information about training and seminars, visit www.gitomer.com or email Gitomer personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted 7 years 160 days ago