Published: 12 Oct 2023

business man in office, working on project

Sales is a numbers game where hitting that quota seems like your top priority, especially since not everyone can consistently do so. Ironically, top-performing sales reps care little for numbers. Instead, they focus on growing their clientele, fostering meaningful business relationships, and building themselves up to be the kind of person everyone wants to deal with.

Want to follow in their footsteps? Then, start integrating the following practices into the core of your professional identity.

Learn Effective Time Management

Everyone gets the same amount of time each day, but are you maximizing its potential? Structuring your time to meet core demands while successfully juggling other duties like meetings and prep work is among the most crucial skills that set top-performing salespeople apart.

The first step is tracking your workdays and seeing how much each task type takes. You want to maximize quality activities like bringing in new leads and nurturing existing customer relationships. To do so, you’ll want to identify inefficiencies and introduce strategies to minimize these.

You might not always be able to ditch a meeting, and unexpected setbacks are always a risk. Still, even spending 15 minutes less on avoiding distractions or automating repetitive tasks will pay dividends.

Adopt a Consultant Mindset

The modern consumer is savvy and informed. You’re likely not the only party with a solution on offer, so the key is to be better than the competition. Approaching prospects from a consultant’s perspective instead of what one would traditionally associate with a salesperson is how you close deals today. What does this mean?

A consultant is someone whose knowledge extends beyond marketing talking points and what anyone could find through a quick online search. They’re enthusiastic about their product and have the authority to provide convincing answers to complicated questions clients have concerning real problems.

Most importantly, the modern salesperson is honest. People have become versed in sniffing out smoke and mirrors tactics. Even worse, they’ll resent any attempts at wasting time with grand promises or unverifiable claims. Being upfront and setting realistic expectations will foster quality relationships and lead to repeat business.

Don’t Neglect Cybersecurity Best Practices

Having as much relevant info on prospects and customers is a cornerstone of a successful career in sales. Much of that info is sensitive. Depending on your specific industry, you might have access to contact, banking, or even medical information on thousands of individuals. That means you also have an obligation to protect such information from cybersecurity threats.

Any customer information you store or send needs to be encrypted, and you should have backups in case of ransomware attacks. It’s also important to recognize the most common pitfalls like phishing and spear phishing, as well as keep any software you use up to date.

You can’t prevent cyberattacks on companies you have accounts with. However, you can limit the damage such an event may cause through good password hygiene. That means you should have a long and unique password for each account. Thinking of one for the dozens of services you rely on to do your work isn’t efficient, so consider a password manager instead.

Password managers create and deploy as many foolproof passwords as you require and can update them all instantly. They have vaults that let you store other sensitive bits of information. Some even integrate two-factor authentication to restrict unauthorized access further.

Cultivate Your Emotional Intelligence

Every customer is unique. You’ll convince some by relying on hard facts, while others will respond better to an amiable approach. The trick is to be versatile enough to identify the type of person you’re dealing with and adjust accordingly. In the traditional sense, intelligence is important for success in any endeavor. However, emotional intelligence is a better predictor of one’s success in a business environment.

An emotionally intelligent salesperson can see things from the prospect’s point of view. They can better identify surface-level pain points and tactfully ask poignant questions to reveal underlying issues. Sometimes, the difference between souring a relationship and making a sale is successfully reading the other person’s mood.

You can build even a weak EQ with diligence. Study the humans around you. Pay attention to their mannerisms and body language. Develop active listening skills! Broaden your horizons and become a versatile individual. Different kinds of people can approach effortlessly and have rewarding interactions.

Let Software Make Your Life Easier

Much of today’s sales efforts happen in the digital world. Even if your industry still depends on direct customer contact, it would be foolish to underestimate how much software can streamline and speed up some processes.

CRM or customer relationship management platforms come to mind first. A CRM is invaluable for tracking and maintaining interactions with leads and customers. They’re databases that provide insight into everyone you interact with in your salesperson capacity.

The CRM can create extensive profiles containing a contact’s info ranging from the basics to preferences and past interactions. This lets you build rapport and focus on fulfilling a person’s or group’s specific needs. It simplifies forming genuine connections, improving the chances of making sales and retaining customers.

The software can also help with prospecting by generating lists of potential leads. The newest tools leverage AI to turn impersonal, cold emails into tailor-made invitations to explore what you have to offer. Others automate follow-up emails or consolidate all your social media feeds into a single interface that’s much easier to work with.

Communication with teammates is almost as important as interacting with clients. With the work-from-home rise, a communication app is sometimes the only way to stay coordinated. Plus, the more you can get done via text chat, the fewer meetings you’ll need to sit through.

Realize the Sale Isn’t the End of the Journey

Long-standing relationships built on trust and respect are also the most profitable. Building them relies on the notion that your interaction with a customer doesn’t end with the sale itself. Rather, you should continue to offer guidance until that sale helps them achieve success.

This will allow the client to smooth out processes like adapting to new workflows. It establishes you as someone willing to go above and beyond. Anyone would be glad to work with such a person again, not to mention spread the word to other industry contacts.

Be Persistent, but Know When to Move On

Not every lead will realize the value your products or services bring right away. That’s where persistence and creative thinking come in. It’s important to respectfully and unobtrusively approach reluctant leads. Examine their specific circumstances and gently suggest what your company can do to resolve them.

It’s also important to know when to quit. Some people won’t be swayed regardless of your charm or the data that supports whatever you’re selling. That’s OK!

Treat such an interaction as a learning experience and apply what you’ve discovered to wooing your next prospect. Best of all, figuring out when to let go will lead to more time you can spend on closing deals with more receptive clients.