Bill Sparkman, Sales and Marketing Trainer, Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author

By: Bill Sparkman, The Coach

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Are you a peak sales performer? I find that almost all sales people think they are the best. No one can sell like them. But when I press them by asking exactly what it is that makes a top sales producer they usually say, a good positive mental attitude, persistence, good time management skills, or a great closer. It's always interesting to see what little knowledge most salespeople have of what it takes to be top producer.

In a recent study conducted by the Xerox Corporation to learn what separated top producers from marginal producers, they studied salespeople in over 24 industries, including new home/real estate salespeople. They found five different skill and behavior patterns that seemed to separate the best from the mediocre.

1. Connecting with the Customer
Research found that peak performers first established a very balanced dialogue with their prospects and interacted like friends. They seemed to have an uncanny ability to get their prospects involved as well as help them discover why their product would be of the greatest value in helping them solve their problems. Top producers also realize that proving why the product will be valuable is much better than simply telling the prospect about it. Your prospect rarely buys because of what you present. She instead buys from what she convinces herself of.

2. Perfect Probing
The second characteristic of peak performing salespeople is their ability to probe skillfully. These top sales producers are so good at asking questions that they almost always uncover their prospect's needs first, before mentioning anything about their product. I'm sure you have found if you present product benefits or price too soon the prospect will begin to disqualify you by giving objections. Top producers have a way of using "counseling techniques" to discover their prospects true needs. These top performers ask twenty-five percent more open-ended questions than the low performers. They are so good at probing that they make you think that they know your wants and needs inside and out before they recommend a solution.

3. Matching Needs
The third characteristic of peak sales performers is their skill at matching product features and benefits to the prospects needs. They have learned to uncover real needs and show how their product can satisfy them. These peak performers are so good at uncovering needs that they often uncover many. In fact, research has shown that when two or more needs are uncovered a sale occurred. Many salespeople have a tendency to present benefits that may not relate to the prospects needs. If you talk about your product benefits and features that don't match up to the prospects needs, you are inviting objections.

4. Turning Around Negative Customers
These peak performers have a fourth characteristic. They have developed a talent at turning a prospect's negative attitude around. These top producers have the ability to counter objections and a prospects rejection properly and directly. It has been proven that successful sales interactions contain fifty percent more objections than those appointments that resulted in no sale. This indicated that people who buy will produce more objections than those who don't buy. Those salespeople who are more skilled at generating objections will make more sales than those who merely overcome objections given to them by the prospect.

5. The fifth and last characteristic is knowing how and when to close.
The top performers have learned how to summarize benefits and value and propose a concise and clear plan of action. The prospect is made aware of what will happen during and after the sale is made. When this kind of proposed line of action close was used, seventy-five percent of the prospects ended up purchasing and completing the sale. Low producers have less sales because they miss this critical step.

The successful salesperson asks the prospect an average of 14 questions, describes an average of 8 product benefits and lists over 7 product features. If you will analyze the parts of your sales presentation that are the strongest and the weakest, and improve those weaknesses, selling for you will be as natural as a duck paddling on top of water. You will be absolutely surprised when someone says no. Use these tools and techniques and watch your sales soar.

Bill Sparkman, "The Coach"





Bill Sparkman, The Coach

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