There’s a famous saying in the sales industry that 20% of your customers account for 80% of sales, and it’s been inferred that only 8% of sales people are achieving a large quantity of these sales — so how are they doing this? Through tenacity and talent, high-performing sales people sell to the prospects the low-performing ones give up on, something reflected in Alexander Group’s 2016 survey which reported that less than half of sales reps (46%) meet their quotas. So, what are the key differences between sales reps who don’t hit their targets and high performing sales reps who surpass them? It’s not always natural talent as there are a variety of traits that can affect the capabilities of sales people. Take a look at these characteristics that all high performing sales reps possess:

They are data-driven

Good sales reps have intrinsic whims concerning warm leads that can lead to sales, but the best sales reps rely on proven data to drive their decisions. To do this, instead of shying away from admin tasks, they find the value in creating data-documents that measure and record the effectiveness of their sales processes and keep a close eye on the sales pipeline. Not only do they follow the data, but they allow the data to guide the decision-making process and innovate them. Incorporating and utilising technology in sales can see a whole heap of benefits as technology can speed up processes, increase productivity and automatically select the most promising prospects based on their previous interactions with the company. The best sales reps can then use this information to make decisions on who to approach and the best approach for the situation.

It’s important to recognise that amazing sales reps weren’t born with their skills, they developed and improved them through constant reflection and evaluation, on top of being coached in the right way. Being aware and educated on the best sales practises can help all sales rep achieve these high levels of performance.

They know and believe in their product

Enthusiasm sells, and if your sales reps aren’t passionate about what they’re selling, this will come through in their pitch. The best sales reps not only have extensive knowledge of the product and are able to answer or counteract customer queries, but they also exude a natural positivity and persuasion based on their own affinity to the product. Think of a time when a friend convinced you to watch a TV show that they were obsessed with — their passion came through in their pitch which automatically inspired curiosity within you and a desire to share this passion.

When learning about the product, great sales reps not only study the positives but also the weaknesses. Planning for this can allow sales people leeway when making pitches or selling the product as they can offer solutions to potential concerns before they are even asked. Knowledge of the product naturally strengthens communication and allows the sales rep to feel confident while selling. Of course, to enable this, sales reps should be provided with training to understand the product and invited to the necessary meetings to stay up-to-date on recent changes.

They know how to pick up on cues

One of the most important things a sales rep can hone above all else is their interpersonal skills. It’s the core of the work they do and it’s vital they can create and maintain positive relationships with key clients.

The difference between underperforming sales reps and high-achieving ones is that they know selling is not all about talking. It’s equally as important, in any relationship, to reach an equilibrium of talking and actively listening to the needs and concerns of the other person. This makes the interactions feel less self-centred or singularly-motivated, a sentiment shared by 69% of customers who believe a sales rep listening to their needs contributes to a positive sales experience.

Great sales reps can pick up on subtle cues, both verbal and physical, to better understand the needs of the customer and act in accordance with this to ensure the best result — even if this means going for a less forward approach such as handing out a business card. Some people may appreciate the extra time to consider the opportunity instead of being expected to commit on the spot. Understanding and utilising different sales strategies can help sales people surpass targets.

They take advantage of opportunities

Finally, great sales people are never off the job and always seeking opportunities for growth and networking. Those who surpass their targets do so by looking out for new prospects in any situation and by making the most of each situation. They often ask happy customers or clients for referrals, network to increase their social outreach and take opportunities to learn and hone their sales strategies. Eagerness to learn and intrinsic motivations are essential to excel in a career in sales.

They work for companies they love

It’s been proven time and time again that productivity is intrinsically tied to job satisfaction. If you want the best sales reps to work for you, offer them an environment they can thrive in and professional training opportunities for continued career growth.

If you want to elevate your career in sales, apply to a job you love with BMS Performance. We recruit talented and motivated sales candidates to work in a variety of roles and businesses across the UK. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.