Every sales team has a few outliers, star reps who outperform the rest by a wide margin. It can be hard to see from an outside perspective what these reps do differently, but they always seem to exceed their quotas and bring in more revenue than other reps. Often, all the training in the world doesn’t seem sufficient to bring underperforming reps up to their level. Turnover and reps failing to meet quota are two of the biggest costs you face in a sales organization; underperformers will harm your business a great deal in the long run. As a sales leader, you want to be able to identify and cultivate superstar reps as much as possible, but you also want to avoid being overly dependent on them and having the rest of your team lag too far behind. For both of these reasons, you want to identify the traits that set them apart from the pack to recognize them in new hires and to try to develop them in less high-performing reps through training to close the gap.
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The qualities that set your star reps apart are not always what you might think. They don't have to be extroverts or people with natural charisma. Instead, they demonstrate a few fundamental skills and traits. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the ten qualities that define your team’s stars and set them apart from the rest.
One major sign that you have a star salesperson on your hands is that they have conversations, rather than just giving pitches and presentations. Great sales reps understand the give-and-take of a sales interaction and the delicate balance that should be achieved between speaking and listening, selling and asking questions. They understand that getting the prospect to open up is one of the keys to sales and that this is often more important than giving the best possible breakdown of all your product’s unique features.
A Harvard Review study showed that the best sales reps are lower in self-consciousness than others. They express themselves freely and confidently and are not easily embarrassed or flustered. This enables them to stay calm and focused throughout their conversations, which is key to making prospects feel a high level of trust and comfort. However, they temper this lack of self-consciousness with a high level of self-awareness and general social skills. Most star reps are naturally people smart and perceptive.
A key factor in a sales rep’s success is their ability to motivate themselves and set goals. This is a natural byproduct of ambition, which is shared by every star rep without exception. These standout performers are driven to do better and improve and have an appetite for knowledge. They often set their own goals and are driven to knock their quotas out of the park.
Standout salespeople are very comfortable with rejection. They understand that it is an inevitable aspect of sales and that most prospects say no more than once before saying yes. Superstar reps don’t just accept rejection, they are motivated and fired up by it. Rather than losing their confidence and self-assurance, they perform even better when facing adversity, and it spurs them on to be even better. They recognize that rejection in sales is not always final, and they find motivation in those tough sales that require all their skills and resourcefulness.
One key, often-overlooked trait of high-performing salespeople is effective time management. The best reps organize their time well and understand its value. They know how to allocate their hours well and how to prioritize the most high-impact activities. Low-performing reps tend to waste a staggering amount of hours on unimportant activities or take too long to switch between different types of tasks. As a sales leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that your reps keep track of their time and spend most of their hours on activities that directly bring in revenue.
One of the major differences between star reps and low performers is how both groups respond to training. A highly coachable rep, even if they are still unskilled and inexperienced, is likely to be a star rep at some point in the future. This means they learn fast and have a natural hunger for knowledge. They regularly meet and exceed their training goals and are motivated to learn outside the curriculum.
The best sales reps don’t need everything spelled out for them. They respond well to training and learn fast, but they are also able to think on their feet and act independently. They are creative and eager to try out different ways of doing things, and adapt quickly to new situations. These types of reps are a godsent to sales leaders because you can rely on them to figure some things out on their own (after a thorough training period of course) and not to have to ask you about every little detail.
One of the best ways to identify an outstanding sales rep is how intensely passionate they are, both about the product they are selling and about their work in general. Prospects can always tell if someone truly believes in the product and is excited and interested in it. This authentic passion is often contagious, and can even outweigh flaws or minor mistakes in a sales presentation. It is also impossible to completely fake. Great sales reps are passionate about selling, which rubs off onto whatever product they are currently selling. They are also usually intensely curious, which enables them to be genuinely interested in almost any type of product they may be selling. They do research and make sure they deeply understand and believe in what they are selling, which produces the kind of real conviction they project.
A stellar salesperson understands that at its core, sales is about building relationships and rapport. They do not just focus on making the sale and move on. Instead, they try to make a personal connection with each prospect, and they also follow up with them often. Customer retention is an essential aspect of sales, and great reps understand this and cultivate lasting relationships.
There are many qualities that set your best reps apart from the average ones, and it’s those qualities that you should be looking for in new hires. If you want to build a strong team of people who can grow with your company and help it reach its goals, then find someone who embodies these 9 characteristics. If you want to cultivate these traits in your team and accelerate your new hires fast, try Attention out!
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