The key to cultivating a successful career in sales is about developing the skills that will help you to thrive in your role. Though ambition and drive are of course important when it comes to clinching deals, in a world where people are more connected than ever, and potential customers can access a whole host of business opportunities at the touch of a button, building a successful career in sales is not just about selling. It’s also about taking the time to personalise your sales experience to your customer’s needs, building relationships with potential clients, and understanding how the changing market is changing the way in which people buy.

To stay ahead of the curve, it pays to invest time in cultivating a set of good habits that will help you stand out from your competitors and give you the skills you need to thrive in any market, no matter how it changes.

Here are our tips for developing habits that will propel a good sales person to a stellar career.

They listen to customers

Plenty of sales people like to talk, but it’s finding the balance between talking and listening that proves key when attracting customers. Though of course discussing the features and benefits of the products is important to allow clients to make an informed decision, ultimately, people like to be heard and respected. After all, 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience, so it’s important to ensure that clients get more than just a hard sell. Indeed, the best sales people listen to their customers first, the better to understand their needs, before giving them information that is relevant to the problems they want to address.

They always ask questions

Show potential customers genuine interest by asking them questions. Not only does it help you delve further into their needs, the better to present them with a tailored solution, it also means you’re more likely to engage with your clients- especially since emails containing one to three questions are 50% likelier to get a response than any without. Furthermore, by taking the time to ask questions during a meeting or call- and by spacing them out- you can make the conversation feel much more natural, which in turn helps to develop the relationship between the sales person and a prospect.

They follow up

In sales, persistence is such an important trait to have if you want to close deals. If you want the hard work you put into finding a prospect to count, then make sure to follow up soon after, and often multiple times if necessary, whether it’s after a meeting, a proposal, or a previous call Given that 80% of prospects say ‘no’ four times before they say ‘yes’, it’s clear to see that taking the time to follow up really does pay off.

They’re not complacent

Sales is a fickle business- and a sale that you might have thought was guaranteed could fall through at the drop of a hat. As a sales person, it’s therefore important not to get complacent: the best professionals do everything they can do get the sale over the line. Is there another person that you should speak to? Should you follow it up again?
Sometimes, taking the time to pay attention to these sales can make all the difference: after all, it’s not in until it’s been invoiced.

They are planned and organised

Did you know that unnecessary meetings cost UK businesses more than £191bn every year? A disorganised sales person not only wastes time but costs their company money- especially if they don’t keep on top of their client portfolios. Taking that little bit of extra time to properly plan your day and organise your schedule is therefore a great habit to cultivate: an organised sales person knows which customers to prioritise, who to spend the most time on, and how to make the most of their time. Given the myriad benefits that come with planning your work hours, it’s an extremely useful habit to develop, and will serve you well the higher you climb in your career.

They know their pipeline

Knowing your pipeline inside out is important if you want to meet your sales quotas. Indeed, successful sales people take the time to do just that, from understanding the profiles of their individual customers to where they are against target. This can pay off in more ways than one, too: your manager will always be asking where you’re up to and what’s next on your list. Make sure you know: nothing looks worse than an unprepared employee!

They know their products

More than half of prospects want to see how the product you’re selling works on the first call. Could you tell them everything they want to know? Knowing your product inside out might seem like an obvious consideration, but it’s so important when it comes to selling with conviction. The more detail you can go into, the better you’ll be able to sell the benefits- and tailor your response and selling strategy to the needs of your customer.

They understand the need to engage multiple stakeholders

When you’re chasing a sale, it can be tempting simply to focus on the main contact, but they’re not the only person making the decision about whether or not to buy a product. Nurtured leads make purchases that can be up to 47% larger than non-nurtured leads, and good sales people recognise this, making the effort to connect with and engage the numerous stakeholders within the business. By having the backing of multiple people within the company, they’ll be more likely to seal a deal- and more likely to do more business with them in the future.

They have a sales process

Whether it’s at a company or an individual level, good sales people have a tried-and-tested sales process in place that they stick to. Nearly six in ten sales people say that they stick to a sales strategy that works for them, once they’ve found it: by doing the same, you’ll be better able to plan how to tackle new leads, and avoid any unpleasant surprises in the selling process.

They understand their customers’ sales process

Just as sales people have processes to follow, so too do customers. A good sales person understands the procedures their customers follow, whether that’s timelines, approvals processes or seasonal reviews, and uses these to anticipate the right time to sell – and the right sales message. Take the time to get to know how your customers’ businesses operate and where your services can fit in.

Success starts here

At BMS Performance, we give businesses the advice they need to attract top sales talent and encourage sales people to reach their full potential. Kick-start your sales process: talk to us for tailored advice and support, or browse our blog for more insights.