Sales professional or amateur? Your reality determines success.

Some salespeople are consistently top performers. They rank consistently in the top tier of growth, performance, and revenue achievements.

Then there are all the rest. Made up of two groups.

The first group of “all the rest” are those that are capable of top tier achievement and trying hard but some combination of false beliefs as to what works, not being anchored to a set of success principle guardrails, inability to follow a plan to completion, choosing lower probability behaviors too often and lack of confidence.

The second group of non top-performers are what I refer to as the wanna-be’s that never will be. These are the short-term thinkers that confuse activity with strategy, have a transactions mindset, change tactics with the wind, confuse hacks and shortcuts with an actual plan, and blame everything but their choices for their bottom dwelling performance.

What is the difference between top tier sales professionals and most sales reps?

If you are capable of more, yet are still short of your full potential, understanding these differences can make the difference. There are shades of gray and exceptions to all of these, but make no mistake, getting on the right side of these differences will provide you the edge to move from the middle to the top tier.

• Most think short-term and rack up a lot of sales debt (when you do things that boost short-term results yet decrease mid- and long-term results.) Sales pros think longer term.
• Sales pros are always thinking of the 3rd or 4th sale. Most think of the first close as the end.
• Sales pros focus on executing a process that leads to results. Most just focus on the close.
• Sales pros do not provide proposals or quotes until they are likely to be accepted. Most provide them far too early.
• Sales pros acknowledge their circles of competence and shore up their gaps. Most think they can do it all.
• Sales pros understand that mistakes and failures are normal on the road to top performance. Most overreact and fail to learn from mistakes.
• Sales pros actively seek feedback and suggestions. Most think that constructive criticism or suggestions are an attack on them personally.
• Sales pros see consistent performance over time as success. Most think of one-offs and occasional wins as success.
• Most give up far too early. Sales pros hang in to improve.
• Sales pros have firm beliefs about sales behaviors more likely to advance a sale and sales behaviors less likely to advance a sale. Most don’t.

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.”
Steven Pressfield

• Sales pros are firmly grounded in the sales and marketing strategies of top performers, which act as guardrails for their behaviors. Most have weaker beliefs and guardrails on their behaviors do not exist.
• Sales pros think of outcomes. Most think of doing the right things.
• Sales pros take responsibility for their results. Most conduct themselves so they can’t be blamed for poor performance.
• The behaviors of sales pros are consistent. Most are erratic.
• Most go fast. Sales pros go further.
• Most work at surface level. Sales pros go deeper.
• Most think of black and white absolutes. Sales pros see the shades of gray in behaviors and strategy.
• Sales pros focus on probabilities. Most cling like death to possibilities.
• Most think that what they want to do and are comfortable doing is the right thing to do. Sales pros laser focus on what works.
• Sales pros learn and grow from their failures. Most halt, don’t reassess or have a better approach for next time.

If you are capable of improving sales performance, the above list can help you identify what you need to work on.