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 to 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 even – never gave it much thought.
Yes, the salesperson asked a lot 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 a successful salesperson, I want to make sure that if I’m asking him or her why they are successful, I want to get to what they actually do behind their perception of why.
Yesterday, I interviewed two multi-million dollar producers. I asked them what they did to get to their top position. Here are the net results (what I asked, what they said, how I interpreted it and how they agreed it really was after I restated/reworded it):
1. Persistence without being a pest. Following up professionally and consistently with value messages and firm reasons to buy. Their key: Never miss one follow-up.
2. Build real relationships. More than just a sale. Investing quality time with each customer beyond the sale.