Studies show that most salespeople in the top 10% would do well selling almost anything, almost anywhere – and that they work fewer hours than most of the salespeople in the bottom 20%.
What are the characteristics of these high performers and what can you do to boost your own performance to the top 10% level?
There are 8 key traits common to Sales Champions:
- Self-confidence and self-assurance
- Positive attitudes
- Strong belief in what they are selling
- Confidence in the selling profession
- High personal integrity
- Personal philosophy and approach to sales calls
- Ability to advance a variety of sales situations
- Strong selling skills
To perform at the level of the top 10%, every one of these traits must be present. The traits related to skill development and the sales process can be
addressed with traditional sales training. However, what most sales trainings fail to address are the items having to do with the Championship Mindset
– creating the individual’s ability to sustain positive beliefs and attitudes. In other words, sales skills and the sales process must be supported
by the resilience and mental toughness of the salesperson to envision and achieve success in spite of past failures or difficult circumstances. This
is the key differentiator between the top 10% sales performers and the rest.
The top 10% have a “play to win” mentality. They believe they cannot fail. They believe that they can only learn and grow as they compete with themselves.
They are driven not by a fear and scarcity mindset, but a positive belief that it is impossible for them to lose and in every struggle, there is a
lesson for future success that also gives them strength to persevere.
The Essential Need to Believe in Yourself
If you lack the self-confidence of a top 10% sales performer, it may be perceived instead as a lack of belief in your product or service. Your ability to influence and persuade others dwindles. In turn, the lack of success negatively affects your belief in what you are selling, creating a cycle of negativity and doubt that makes it harder and harder to succeed.
When we underperform, we tend to look externally and blame situations or actions that are out of our control. Some of the most common complaints are: poor
lead quality, bad territory, lack of marketing support, insufficient product development, absence of sales enablement tools, and poor leadership/management
practices. At times, some of these can be valid – perhaps your service or product is not meeting the current market needs, marketing is understaffed
or under budgeted for growth, or you have a leadership team that is not aligned and not valuing the internal and external customer. However, most of
the time, we are our own worst enemies. The Championship Mindset of the top 10% is what allows them to succeed, even when faced with these challenges.
Stinking Thinking vs. Positive Thinking
When negative perceptions take hold, there is a domino effect of negativity for you, others around you, and your company culture. Often, we forget that our perceptions are not necessarily reflective of reality. Perceptions create self-talk and our self-talk influences our behaviors, both positive and negative. If customers, prospects, or leaders perceive your actions or words as negative, their perceptions about you become negative and influence their behaviors toward you – which only serves to “confirm” your negative perceptions about yourself.
These negative perceptions about ourselves and what we call “stinking thinking” are the root cause of most underperforming sales representatives. This
is where the Championship Mindset separates the top 10% sales professionals from everyone else. Negative thinking and self-talk is what keeps average
performers from reaching the top 10%. If you are confident that you have the product knowledge and the sales skills needed to get the job done, but
you are still not getting the results you desire – it’s time to take a hard look at your own stinking thinking.