18 Habits of Top Sales Performers

How to succeed in sales? Here are the 18 characteristics, habits, skills, and techniques of successful salespeople that get results!

If you ask most people how they rate their sales performance, I find they normally answer based on two variables: results and experiences. People who rate themselves as ‘poor’, usually face negative results and experiences. While, those who rate themselves as ‘great’, usually receive positive results and experiences.

The number one factor separating sales winners from the closest second-place finisher is the winner educated the buyer with new ideas and perspectives.

Mike Schultz, bestselling author, of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling

We all have a sales mindset. This mindset is how we identify with our product and sales process, how we approach solving sales problems, and how we overcome challenges. Mindset can uncover our limiting beliefs and attitudes that create obstacles in our path to success in sales.

You were born to win, but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.

Zig Ziglar

We know habits form over a period of time (somewhere between 21 days and 60 days, depending on which expert you listen to). Consistency is key.

In my experience, there are 18 distinct sales competencies that, if consistently repeated and acted upon to become habits, create successful salespeople and keep them on a path to success.

1) Active listening: Actively hearing and explicitly attempting to comprehend the meaning of the prospect’s communication.

2) Ambition and initiative: The aspiration to achieve something, or to succeed, accompanied by motivation, determination, and an internal drive to continually perform at a higher level.

3) Building rapport: Creating, developing, and maintaining a trusting atmosphere for honest communication and sharing of information.

4) Controlling the sales process: Actively taking charge of every step of the sales process by clearly defining and agreeing upon all the steps and possible outcomes with the prospect. It helps in guiding the prospect toward a decision.

5) Critical thinking: The mental process of skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to uncover any connection between the prospect’s challenges and the sales professional’s solution.

6) Dealing with failure: The ability to recover from setbacks and losses while gaining resiliency and the ability to deal with adversity

7) Determined competitiveness: Having a strong desire to be better, more successful than others, and never lose. Consistently and persistently striving to improve the level of one’s performance to win at any cost.

8) Emotional involvement: The ability to avoid getting engaged in the sales process with one’s own or prospect’s emotions. It shields the sales professional from reacting emotionally, rather than rationally.

9) Goal orientation: A disposition towards developing and demonstrating the ability to achieve higher levels of performance and success.

10) Handling Objections: Dealing effectively with statements or questions raised by prospects that imply an unwillingness to buy at the present time.

11) Money concept: Objective and non-emotional views and beliefs about money. It is to be seen as an abundant resource that is simply used to measure performance and obtain things and lifestyle.

12) No Need for approval: Many people need to be liked and accepted by others in order to feel good about themselves. When an individual has a need for approval, they tend to value the beliefs, opinions, and needs of others above their own. Successful salespeople continue to get out of their comfort zone by refusing the temptation to be liked by others. However, they are also careful not to become so aloof in their behavior that it negatively impacts their personal life and relationships.

13) Presenting: The act of communicating the proposed solution’s effectiveness in solving the prospect’s issues, compellingly.

14) Process orientation: Being dutiful and diligent in following a systematic sales process to increase the success of the sales efforts, bring structure, and leave less to chance.

15) Prospecting: Actively searching for potential customers to ensure there are always sufficient opportunities to generate new business. Amongst the prospecting activities are cold calling, asking for referrals, cultivating existing cold leads, and networking.

16) Qualifying: The systematic process of carefully verifying whether or not a prospect is willing and able to buy.

17) Questioning effectiveness: A structured and effective way of using well-planned questions to reveal and understand the prospect’s challenges. These questions are not just used to help the prospect share important information for problem-solving, but also to aid them in discovering previously unidentified issues.

18) Time management: The ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work. It is the process of organizing and planning to divide time between specific sales activities for maximum productivity.

Are you wondering how you would score against each of these 18 competencies? How can you build these competencies into habits? Black Bull Performance Group’s Sales Competency Assessment rates you against each competency and provides a development plan to create a winning habit. You can download a sample report by visiting https://www.blackbullperformance.com/hr-strategy/tools/sales-competence-assessment/

Like everything in life, our actions determine our results. If we are interested in something, we do what’s convenient. If we are committed to something, we do whatever it takes. When we can create habits that move us closer to our goals, we make success easier. As Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can or can’t – you’re right.”

Start making these 18 core competencies into habits in your life and watch the difference in your sales results.