5 Keys (And a Secret) to Sales MasteryArticle by Colleen Francis, July 17, 2023
When it comes to sales training, sales coaching, and sales mastery, here are five keys (and a secret)!
I’ve spent two decades studying the business habits of top salespeople and teaching others how to emulate those habits for success. It comes down to five repeatable steps. And a secret.
Sales Training, Sales Coaching, and Sales Mastery: 5 Repeatable Steps and a Secret
1. De-emotionalize All Numbers
Marketing experts know that, for buyers, decisions involving anything having to do with numbers—from pricing to performance metrics to product data—are much more emotional than fact-driven. For a skilled seller, these are nothing but facts in service of a more important story.
For example, a product’s price isn’t about how and why it’s so expensive. It’s simply what it costs to purchase that value-driven product—one that fully solves the problem a customer has. Ignore this truth at your peril. If you get emotional about numbers the way your buyer does, you’ll lose leverage and get mired in a race to the bottom on price. The same goes for performance metrics. Smart sellers know how many leads are needed to convert a prospect into a sale. They know their sales velocity ranking, conversion time frames, and retention ratios. These are just facts behind getting the job done, not things to overtake you emotionally.
2. You Are Defined by Your Results, Not Your Promises
Talk is cheap. Whereas successful outcomes—consistently delivered—are the sum of having a repeatable process guided by a set of beliefs. That’s what differentiates a top seller from the rest. No clear-thinking person can write off that kind of success as luck because each one of your winning habits is transferable. By showing others that they also can apply your field-tested methods, your claims are transformed from promises to results. The same goes for your buyer. When they see your belief system and your process, it instils confidence in them that they are making the right decision to buy from you. Applied beliefs deliver results. And are remembered.
3. The Problem Contains the Solution
It’s a time-honoured expression for a good reason: it works. And yet, many sellers apply it backwards, assuming their job is to find a long, vague list of problems their customers might be experiencing. Stop! Top sellers are skilled at defining the right problem. Singular. And then, they devote an overwhelming chunk of their time to developing compelling solutions. Plural. Stop wasting time on made-up problems that your customers see through. Listen carefully to what buyers say. Next, you must do the work to find meaningful solutions to a real pain point. And those solutions must be provable based on what you have done in the field with others. No shortcuts.
4. Run Toward What Makes You Uncomfortable
Pay attention to what you avoid doing. Avoidance behaviour happens because it’s human nature to want to find and maintain a safe, stable space at work and in life. People also want to be seen as likeable. That kind of thinking is a mistake. Your success as a seller—or as a leader of sellers—is determined by how well you perform. And that’s measured with cold, hard metrics. Not in likes. This isn’t social media. Instead, recognize that the more resistance you feel to taking on a tough task, the more likely it is that it’s something you must do. Have that difficult conversation about money. Tackle that unaddressed interpersonal difference. Do it now.
5. Coaching Is Management’s Top Job
This point applies to both sellers and those who manage them. Stop assuming that coaching (1) is only for underperformers, (2) is done using leftover time only after more important tasks are done, and (3) is inherently a micromanaging activity in a bad way. In fact, everyone needs coaching. It should occupy 70% of a manager’s time and the remaining 30% for other tasks. And it’s the good kind of micromanaging. All coaching, done effectively, delivers powerful outcomes. It helps everyone achieve the metrics that matter in your business. And makes already successful people thrive even more.
NOW, ABOUT THAT SECRET…
Lastly, let’s talk about the big, ugly secret: every one of these five keys to sales mastery can be taught, but many sellers simply don’t bother applying them. Ever. Unapplied knowledge is a waste of everyone’s time. Don’t make that mistake. Apply these five keys today and start earning your place as the respected, trusted leader in your field. This is not hard to do.