What exactly sets the top salespeople apart from their peers?
According to Stephen Harvill, a consultant for some of the top companies in the world such as Apple and Samsung, and author of 21 Secrets of Million-Dollar Sellers, the best performing salespeople have certain characteristics that set them apart:
1.- “These rock stars don’t mess around, they don’t procrastinate, and they don’t make excuses. They attend to their careers with purpose.”
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2.- “The vast majority of the salespeople in the million-dollar club deal in products or services that are high value, cost a pretty penny, and are often business-to-business (not business-to-consumer) transactions.”
However, Harvill conveys “this doesn’t mean that if you are new to the sales game, or if you deal in less expensive or lower-volume goods or services, you can’t benefit and learn from the secrets in this book.”
Let’s dive in:
TIP #1 SIMPLE
One way top sales professionals add value to their clients is making things simple even if the process complicates theirs, “In sales, your goal is to make everything SIMPLE for your customers. Doing that may or may not be easy for you.”
Effective salespeople anticipate and handle anything to avoid their clients getting overwhelmed by too much information, and saving their customers time and energy.
Here’s the point:
Top sellers “view SIMPLE as a sales strategy and actively look for ways to simplify.”
TIP #2 MISTAKES WERE MADE
Even the best of the best salespeople make mistakes. When Harvill’s interviewees discover an error, “They slow down long enough to answer two key questions:
1. What caused the error?
2. How do we correct it so that the client’s needs are met?”
Here’s how it goes:
If the issue is simple to solve, the top sellers communicate their clients “They’ve made a mistake and explain how they’re going to rectify it.”
If the problem is more complicated, “They take time to decide on the best way forward”, meanwhile, “They make the client aware of the mistake the moment it happens and say, ‘We’ll be back in touch shortly with a solution.’”
TIP #3 FOCUS MANAGEMENT-TIME BLOCKING
Time blocking is a disciplined approach to productivity that divides the workday by activities, and take advantage of your energetic times. This method requires discipline but it pays off for Harvill’s top seller interviewee Trudy.
Let’s see Trudy’s method to apply the time-blocking productivity technique:
- Consider every event in your day, for example, the time allotted to reading and answering e-mails is an event. Another event is making and returning phone calls. Time allotted to budgeting is yet another event. Even a workout is an event.
- Divide every workday into hour-long pieces and then allocates one of these pieces (or half of a piece, or two or three pieces) of her workday to each event.
- Trudy uses a paper calendar and colored squares to represent the pieces/events of the workday. You can use an app to do the same, it’s up to you.
- Fill in the squares with whatever assignment you have given yourself.
- During each allocated block of time, you do what you have planned and nothing else. Also, consider if you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
- Each evening before you call it quits for the day, rearrange the blocks for the next day.
It’s important to know when you feel more and less energetic, use this information to arrange high-energy and low-energy tasks through your day.
TIP #4 MAY I HELP YOU?
One that took me by surprise! I thought it was a good sale practice to ask “May I help you? After reading 21 Secrets of Million-Dollar Sellers, I had to change my mind.
“Banning “May I help you?” from your greeting is a good idea in pretty much any sales situation. When you ask someone if she/he needs help, that’s a closed-ended question with a yes or no answer. If the potential buyer says no, you’re already starting at a disadvantage.
So what can you do about it?
Instead use, for example, “Welcome to our dealership,” and avoid one of the pushy salespeople behaviors.
There is plenty of advice through 21 Secrets of Million-Dollar Sellers of top performing salespeople such as “Make your client a friend before you make him or her a customer.” Moreover, “million-dollar producers are not in the sales business. They are in the relationship business.” Furthermore, about listening, “a reminder to stop, close your mouth, and listen. Listening carefully to your clients is crucial to sales success.”
“None of the twenty-one patterns of behavior in this book is necessarily anything earth-shattering or universe-changing on its own. But every single person we interviewed, every million-dollar producer, did every single one of these twenty-one things in one way or another.”
Author Stephen J. Harvill
21 Secrets of Million-Dollar Sellers: America’s Top Earners Reveal the Keys to Sales Success
Published by Touchstone (September 19, 2017)
ARC by Edelweiss