9 Habits of (The Most) Successful Salespeople

One of the common traits shared by the best sales performers is that they are habit-based.

That is, they have a consistent set of habits they follow over and over again, without fail.

Successful salespeople use their habits to keep them on track, so they’re always moving forward and every day is productive.

But what are the actual habits of successful salespeople, and how can you incorporate them into your own selling approach

In this video, I’m going to show you 9 habits of the most successful salespeople I’ve ever met. Check it out:

Video Summary:

Habits of Successful Salespeople #1: Worry about what you can control.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #1: Worry about what you can control.Top sales performers are great at focusing only on what they can control. You might hear average or low performers gripe about things like a tough economy or difficult prospects. They might say, “Oh, the economy’s down…” or “My prospects just never get back to me…” or even “Our products aren’t where we need them to be…” and “Our operations are falling apart…” 

Whatever the excuse, I guarantee you top performers aren’t making it—only mediocre sales players.

Instead, top performers only worry about what they can control, and that tends to be sales activities. Sales activities are things you can control, so focus on them and not on all the other stuff. This is one of the most important habits of successful salespeople, a top-performing mindset that will put your sales game into high gear.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #2: Only do things that make you money.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #2: Only do things that make you money.

I would argue that this is the single most effective habit of successful salespeople—and one of the biggest differentiators between top performers and the hordes of average salespeople out there.

Top performers only do things that make them money.

They’re not focused on the operations. They’re not doing tons of paperwork. They’re not spending their time entering data into the CRM. Instead, they’re just doing things that make them money.

So, what makes you money? Getting in front of prospects, spending time with prospects and clients, putting together proposals—just the real sales-related activities. Next time a distraction comes along, think to yourself, “Is this making me money or not?” If it’s not making you money, don’t do it. If it’s going to make you money, do it more and more consistently.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #3: Focus on the pipeline, not sales.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #3: Focus on the pipe, not sales.Here’s a sales truth not many salespeople fully grasp: You can control what your pipeline looks like today, but you can’t control what today’s sales are. That’s why top performers are excellent at constantly adding opportunities into their pipeline. They’re constantly focused on getting more and more opportunities into the pipeline; they’re not quite as worried about what their sales number is today.

Now, of course, top performers want to be closing sales and setting meetings. But ultimately, their key focus is on the pipeline, adding opportunities into their world.

If you have a six-month sales cycle, for example, what you add into your pipeline today isn’t going to turn into a sale for about six months. So you shouldn’t worry so much about your sales numbers this week. Instead, focus on doing what you need to do today to ensure you close sales down the road.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #4: Be willing to lose it all.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #4: Be willing to lose it all.

Top performers are willing to take risks. They’re willing to lose opportunities. They’re willing to just plain lose.

By being willing to lose, they’re also able to win so much more. And that’s why being willing to lose it all is one of the most powerful habits of successful salespeople.

Think of the best athletes you know. They’re taking the greatest risks. It’s the same thing with sales: If you’re willing to lose an opportunity, you have so much more strength when you’re face to face with that prospect.

Whenever I have a meeting that I’m a little nervous about, I say to myself, “If this doesn’t work out, so what? Who cares?” Obviously, I want it to work out—but I don’t need it to work out. I’m willing to lose it all. 

For that matter, if my business fell apart tomorrow, I already know exactly what I’m going to be doing in order to rebuild it the very next day. I’m willing to lose it all because I know that it doesn’t matter. I can always get it back. This mindset takes so much stress out of both my day-to-day life and the interactions I have with prospects.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #5: Get face to face constantly.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #5: Get face to face constantly.Sadly, this is one of those habits of successful salespeople that’s losing some steam in today’s marketplace. With technologies like Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting, getting face to face with prospects is way less common.

While being face to face on video is better than being on an audio call (the data is very clear on that) meeting someone eye-to-eye, in person, is even better.

Top performers are consistent about getting face to face with their prospects. They spend time on site. They get to know people. They position themselves to become a truly trusted advisor.

If you have an opportunity that you’ve deemed as qualified, get face to face. Use your sky miles. Get on the flight and go see them. The more time you spend face to face with your prospects, the more money you’ll make.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #6: Understand them better.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #6: Understand them better.

The best salespeople know their prospects and clients better than anyone else. This is such a key distinction. Most salespeople, as soon as they’ve identified a problem or a challenge that their prospect has, immediately jump to the solution.

Instead, a top-performing rep makes it a habit to really understand their prospect, what drives them, and why they even care about solving that problem in the first place. Successful reps are so much better at going deep—both with prospects and clients—to really understand them in a way that no one else does.

Once you get to that point of truly understanding your prospects on a level that your competitors don’t, you own those relationships. They can’t leave you because it’s not just about price at that point. You are now the trusted advisor who understands their world better than anyone else. 

When you’re at that level, you’re untouchable. So take the time in your conversations to understand your prospects better.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #7: Leverage relationships.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #7: Leverage relationships.Many years ago, I had the opportunity to have dinner with the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. I remember he said that the core founding principle of LinkedIn was wanting people to be able to leverage relationships to grow their business.

That idea has always stuck with me, and it’s one of the reasons that I use an introduction strategy in my own sales approach.

Leverage your existing relationships to create more relationships. Far too few salespeople leverage their existing relationships with clients, vendors, suppliers, and other people in their business network that they really know. Leverage those relationships to get introductions to other folks you might be able to help.

The close rate on a well-set-up introduction is at least 50 times that of a cold call. So leverage your relationships.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #8: Constantly get feedback.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #8: Constantly get feedback.Top performers consistently make any interaction a two-way dialogue, bringing people into a real conversation. Anytime they’re talking or presenting, they have a habit of roping the prospect back in to get feedback with a little question like, “Does that make sense?” or “Do you see what I’m saying there?”

Unsurprisingly, the data shows that top performers are more consistent at getting feedback from their prospects as a result. Even in the presentation phase of the sale, they’re still making it a two-way dialogue. 

When you adopt this habit of successful salespeople, you keep prospects engaged and you also get real-time feedback on what the prospect is thinking at the moment.

If the prospect answers one of your feedback questions with, “Oh, actually, that doesn’t really make sense for this conversation so much. I’m really more concerned about this…” then you can incorporate their feedback right away and change the direction of the sale. 

By getting that feedback throughout the sales process, and particularly during the presentation phase, you’re much more likely to ultimately close the sale.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #9: Follow a plan.

Habits of Successful Salespeople #9: Follow a plan.In my work, I get to have tons of conversations with top-performing salespeople in a wide range of industries.

Just the other day, I was chatting with a really successful salesperson. I asked, “What would you say is the key to being successful in your industry?” He said, “It’s all about following a plan. All the other reps at this company, they don’t have a plan. They’re just kind of doing stuff and throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. But I make sure that I have a plan and I follow it. When I was first hired here, I put together an entire business plan of how I was going to grow my territory,” and that’s exactly what he’s executed on.

9 Habits of (The Most) Successful Salespeople

I see this idea repeated over and over again with top performers. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful habits of successful salespeople: They’re great at coming up with a plan and sticking to it. So follow your plan. Create it and then execute it.

So, there you have it. Now you know 9 habits of the most successful salespeople. Which of these ideas did you find most useful for your own selling approach? Be sure to share your thoughts below in the comments section to join the conversation. 

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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