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January 21, 2016 // 8:30 AM

17 Habits to Become a More Effective Salesperson

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The other day, I spoke with a friend who works in sales and she told me an unbelievable story about her sales team.

On the morning of the last day of the month, her team had met less than 80% quota.

By the end of the day, they had hit 105% quota.What? I’m sure this is a common experience for the people reading this post, but as a non-salesperson, I was curious … how does that happen?

What type of team does it take to make that kind of jump in one day? What behavior makes for an effective salesperson, and by extension, a team of effective salespeople?

To answer this question, we studied some of the most effective salespeople in our company. Based on our observations, we came up with a list of 17 of their most useful habits that make them so good at what they do.

17 Habits of an Effective Salesperson

1) They set and stick to their ideal buyer persona.

A clearly-defined buyer persona is crucial to an effective sales process. And a sales rep who sticks to that persona is effective in generating sales. Otherwise, a salesperson might fall back on spray-and-pray tactics that result in inefficient prospecting.

An effective rep researches the prospect to make sure they’re a good fit. They stick to their ideal buyer persona and know exactly who they're selling to and why.

2) They prepare ahead of time.

An effective salesperson prepares before a call. That means they do research on their prospect and gather all the information before a big customer meeting.

Top reps don't wing it. They go in with a plan and a contingency plan. This way, they anticipate challenges or questions and prepare an effective response to avoid losing the sale.

3) Their lead generation process is measurable and repeatable.

A great process is broken down into measurable actions. By making each step measurable, a rep can pinpoint the weak points of their process and know exactly where to improve.

For example, let's say a salesperson can convert a large portion of their prospects into qualified leads, and can get them interested, but they have trouble closing the deal. By tracking each step along the way, the rep can narrow down the weak point. Is the sales pitch not convincing enough? Is the follow-up procedure not effective? Can the salesperson be more enthusiastic on the close?

After analysis, the rep has specific actions to improve upon rather than just “sell better.”

An effective salesperson gets their process down to a science.

4) They know their product.

Being able to sell is half the battle. Knowing what’s being sold is the other half.

At HubSpot, our new sales hires go through a rigorous training process. Each salesperson builds a blog and website from scratch using the HubSpot tools. This helps them understand the pain points prospects might have when trying to build an audience and generate leads. They also learn how HubSpot can help buyers address these issues.

Through this training, they learn to empathize with the prospect.

5) They execute fact-based (not feelings-based) pipeline management.

Effective sales reps don’t let their feelings cloud their judgment. They are able to maintain emotional distance from their deals and avoid taking conflict or rejection personally. This allows them to manage a more accurate pipeline than most.

6) They constantly build personal relationships.

Relationships are the cornerstone of sales and an effective salesperson knows this. The best reps are constantly making new connections and keeping tabs on potential mutually beneficial partnerships. Focusing on connections also expands their networks, yielding more potential referrals.

7) They think from the customer’s point of view.

Smart salespeople understand that to effectively sell, they shouldn't just think about the paycheck. In order to be successful, they ask themselves how they can help the prospect win. They become an ally for the prospect rather than a salesperson. They think win-win.

Rather than asking, “How can I sell?” they ask, “How can I help?"

8) They don’t try.

Salespeople do or do not. There is no try (hat tip to Yoda). They don’t settle for just “trying” to sell. They know that “almost” doesn’t count so they keep pushing forward until they get results.

9) They actually listen.

They seek to understand the prospect as much as possible and they do this by actively listening and asking questions.

10) They get their eight hours of sleep every night.

Effective salespeople know their attitude toward other people will be affected if they don’t get enough sleep.

If they’re tired, they’ll be grumpy. But if they get enough sleep, they’ll be more enthusiastic on calls and better present their products and services.

11) They believe in what they’re selling.

It’s easier to be enthusiastic about -- and sell -- a product when we genuinely believe in it. The most effective salespeople actually use the product and legitimately believe it can improve lives.

12) They’re purpose-driven.

Money can be a good driver, but purpose is an even more powerful motivator. A great sales rep understands that the product or service they’re selling has the power to positively affect people’s lives, and this knowledge gives them a deep sense of purpose.

However, money -- or more accurately, what money represents -- is also important. Money allows a salesperson to pay for their children’s education or take care of their parents or support a charity they believe in.

13) They follow up.

Many salespeople fail to effectively follow up after sending a proposal. They don’t even know if the prospect opened their email!

Sidekick by HubSpot helps with this issue, letting salespeople know when and how often a prospect opened an email. This way they can follow up at the right time.

14) They personalize their message.

Instead of following a script and approaching each prospect with a “one size fits all” mentality, effective salespeople are committed to learning as much as they can about a prospect to tailor their message. These sales reps understand the unique pain points a prospect is facing and can connect the dots as to why their product specifically solves them.

15) They provide value.

Instead of sending pointless “just checking in" emails, effective salespeople provide value to the prospect each time they reach out. The best sales reps aim to teach the prospect something new with each email.

16) They don’t breeze through qualification.

While a prospect might look great on paper, salespeople who execute thorough research and take time to separate highly qualified prospects from bad fit buyers out themselves in a position to hit quota every month.

High-quality prospects are more likely to stay on with the product longer once they become customers which can lead to referrals down the road.

17) They view their customer’s success as their own.

Salespeople don’t stop working as soon as the prospect signs on the dotted line. Instead, top reps touch base frequently with the customer to seek feedback and provide tactical suggestions.

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Topics: Sales Motivation

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