On Monday in our post titled What Separates Top Producing Sales Reps From The Others? Part I, we listed the first five of eleven. The first five criteria were:
- Have clearly defined expectations
- Have a plan and strategy for maximizing territory potential
- Understand the customer’s needs and business
- They have a passion for the business
- They bring creativity & innovation to create solutions
Here are the final six that were generated by these sales managers.
Create new opportunities
Some seize existing opportunities and call it a day, only to wake up the next morning in a cloud of dust left by trailblazers who have created their own fortunes from the most unlikely and overlooked places. Top-producers not only take advantage of existing opportunities, but find ways to create them as well. Our sales representatives must understand that:
- Selling requires more than sustaining current business.
- They must create new business not only within current accounts, but also through new accounts.
Know your company
Only by fully understanding our resources and total capabilities can we know what it is we take to market; and, as those capabilities expand, what we take to market changes! Because of this, our sales team must understand:
- That selling is more than taking orders (i.e. some sales reps run to management saying they need certain products that we don’t represent).
- Our capabilities – what we do well and not so well.
- The suppliers we represent, our product offerings and the applications that they best address.
- Our value proposition and competitive advantage.
- Authors Note – This is a huge void in most distribution sales organizations. Geneally speaking our sales people do not understand our capabilities and how to present them as solutions to our customer’s business needs.
Know the market
“The ability to learn faster than your competitors,” says business strategist, Arie de Geus, “may be your only sustainable competitive advantage.” Because markets and tastes change, our selling opportunities change. Our sales representatives must learn all they can about their selling environments, including:
- The markets and industries in which they compete.
- The strengths and weaknesses of their competitors.
Tennis champion, Venus Williams’ candidly observed, “You either improve or retire. I try to keep evolving.” Likewise, survival in today’s business climate mandates a continued evolution. “All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners looking for new skills, insights, and ideas,” says author, Denis Waitley, “If they're not learning, they're not growing . . . not moving toward excellence.” Our sales representatives must:
- Desire continued growth and accept the support our company offers to achieve it.
- Commit to continued growth (When is the last time they did something for the first time?)
- Agree to after-hours development (Remember when sales meetings were held on Saturdays?)
Collaboration allows us to “huddle” with co-workers to produce greater results than we could ever achieve on our own. It’s based on the belief that early involvement, teamwork, defined responsibilities and processes can turn good ideas into dynamic solutions. Our sales representatives should demonstrate the willingness to share knowledge and expertise.
More people are watching you than you think. The University of Notre Dame Athletics Department advises participants in its sporting events to be their “best” selves because “everything we say and do (and don't say or do) sends a message about our values.” Notre Dame describes integrity as doing what’s right even when it’s unpopular or personally costly. “By not making a wrong right, you are supporting the wrong. By inaction, you condone the behavior. If you know the truth, speak it loud and clear. In other words, don't hide behind the presence of officials - play as if you are refereeing the event.”
What Are Your Thoughts?
So there are the final six criteria which separate top producing sales reps from all the others according to this group of talented sales managers. While probably not all-inclusive I think it is a great list. What did you think of this list? Do you agree? Disagree? Have others to add? Let me know – I look forward to your input.
For information on how to book Dirk Beveridge for your next sales event, visit www.premierespeakers.com/dirk_beveridge.