Sales can be difficult. Miss a few quotas and even the most hardened salesperson can find themselves prepared to throw in the towel. To create rock-solid salespeople that consistently perform, it all comes down to the habits those individuals keep.
As a sales manager, you have the responsibility of instilling the ways good habits can foster improved sales numbers; but you should also give examples of important habits to keep.
Here are ten habits adopted by top sales performers everywhere, and the various ways you can hammer the lessons home.
The 10 Habits for Sales Success
Review the Buyer Persona
It is critical to know who you are selling to, and why they would want what you’re offering. This is known as your buyer persona, the ideal person you hope will become a repeat customer. Salespeople who don’t familiarize themselves with their buyer personas are bound to have inconsistent results in the field. Successful salespeople regularly review their personas’ pain points, likes and dislikes, needs, and all possible product or service solutions.
Sadly, as time goes on, many salespeople stop studying their personas, because they think they shouldn’t have to bother. The buyer persona, they feel, is something they have memorized.
When, in truth, the persona may have warped in their minds after an extended period in the field.
A sales habit for success is to look over the buyer persona on a regular basis, such as once per month, or even once per day.
As a sales manager, you can make this lesson stick by providing a detailed sketch of the persona and go over it regularly, such as once per month in meetings and with everyone in attendance. This will help your team build the habit of remembering their personas, ensuring few mistakes in the field.
Never Forget a Name or Conversation
A good salesperson takes excellent notes, either by hand, typed, or with a voice recorder – and then inputs the information into the CRM. These details should be studied before prospect and customer phone calls to ensure the knowledge is fresh, just in case a curve-ball is thrown.
Building relationships means knowing things about the other person—just as they may remember things about you. Keeping notes will at least give the appearance that each salesperson has a steel-trap for a memory.
You can instill this lesson in your team by hosting role-playing meetings where each person will be quizzed on things said, and all the promises made. This will teach your salespeople to listen, be observant, and remain quick on their feet, which is sure to affect sales performance positively.
Reach Out and Connect
Winning salespeople take time to connect with others. They hop on the computer and visit LinkedIn, the connect on their phones through Facebook and email, and they even make connections in the real world, such as at the grocery store, at conferences, and in specialty classes.
There are so many channels available to us now to connect and get noticed. Salespeople who want to improve set aside time each day, or at the least once per month, to grow and diversify their connections list.
This is another area where role-playing can be helpful. Teach your team to look for opportunities in every interaction to gain another lead. The key is not to be salesy, but knowledgeable and helpful. Providing value with each interaction can build an enviable web of contacts any salesperson would love to call their own.
Study Your Product
A salesperson who knows the product inside and out is more likely to win the deal. Salespeople who want more sales should spend time regularly studying the product and the various ways it can help prospects in the field.
A printout of features and benefits can also be a handy topic to bring up at monthly meetings. If a customer or prospect comes up with an innovative way to use the product, or a solution not yet thought of, this should be adopted by the whole sales force. Studying the product regularly as a group can help the whole team adopt that knowledge, and can pave the way for them to make this habit their own.
Take Care of Yourself
Keeping the body and mind healthy are crucial aspects to maintaining that zest for life that makes salespeople charismatic and easy to work with. To ensure your team members keep the ideal mindset and stamina for success, starting the day with exercise and meditation, eating healthily and getting enough sleep will ensure optimum conditions for improved performance.
This is one area where leading by example is key. If you remain healthy, and you show your team how important health can be for success, your lesson is more likely to be adopted team-wide.
Pick Your Battles
Top salespeople don’t waste mental bandwidth worrying about deals that don’t matter and leads that won’t go anywhere. They have more important fish to fry. Top salesmen and women use the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your time where the deals are nearly closed and the leads are engaging positively, and the other 20% on the stuff that may lead to additional deals down the road.
When team members come up to you stressed and asking for help, teach them this rule and show them which leads and deals should be focused on and which ones put on the back burner. This is sure to improve efficiency.
Always Be Prepared
The best salespeople are like magicians; they can pull whatever the customer needs out of thin air—or at least it appears that way. Whether you need a pen to sign a contract, a products list to solve needs, or a quick rebuttal to a staunch objection, a good salesman or saleswoman will always have what they need at hand.
Here, again, is an opportunity to lead by example. Show your team how you are always prepared to instill in them the lesson that it is always better to have and not need, than need and not have.
Have a Morning Routine
A productive morning sets the pace for an exemplary day. Making subtle changes like waking up earlier, eating a healthy breakfast, working out, and journaling establishes a morning routine worthy of sales success.
A morning routine is difficult to instill in someone else. Instead, it might help to enlist the help of a success coach or motivational speaker who can help spur the group toward attaining a healthier mindset and lifestyle.
Schedule Your Days
As a sales manager, teach your salespeople to structure their days, then show them how. Some top executives color code their calendars depending on the activity at hand, such as purple for meetings. It is important to schedule important tasks during times when there will be few distractions and the more menial tasks like checking email for when you don’t need as much mental wherewithal.
It will take time for your team members to realize which type of schedule works best. Some people are morning people, and some prefer to burn the midnight oil. A productive schedule, then, might take a bit of trial and error; but a good salesperson takes into account things like circadian rhythm and how they are hardwired to devise a schedule that facilitates success.
Provide various scheduling examples to your team members for both morning people and night owls, and they may just acclimate accordingly.
Remember Your Goals
It is important for salespeople to establish SMART goals. This means your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. The more you instill in your team that goals are important, and if you make goal setting part of your regular meetings, your lesson is sure to take hold.
For best results, teach your team to break goals into smaller, bite-sized chunks. And, to set rewards for when goals are reached, such as going to see a new movie when a certain amount of leads are nurtured for the month. Smaller goals are easier to achieve, keeping morale high, and constant rewards will keep the salesperson consistently climbing the ladder.
You may have to set group goals at first to show the team how it’s done. Handing out worksheets to teach salespeople to log the amount of calls made, leads nurtured, and deals closed, can help them measure their success; which can then lead to establishing important milestones. Rewards can be anything small like accolades and certificates to more significant rewards like gift cards and vacations; whatever motivates the team as a whole.
There is that saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Similarly, you can teach your salesforce that good habits are important for sales stardom; but it’s up to them what they choose to do with the information.
Just remember that the key is to lead by example. And repetition helps, too. Make these habits part of your regular meetings to build a sales force worthy of world-class status.