The “Secret Sauce” of Top Sales People

sea, sky, clouds-6553205.jpg

Admit it…you want the secret formula to catapult your sales. Right?

“Do what I tell you and the big sales will follow.”

“For only $99 you can learn the magic and increase sales by 300%!”

But, I’m sorry to tell you, it just doesn’t work that way. Any “snake oil” sales trainer that tells you that they have “magic words” and a proven formula that will get your prospects to buy – these people are just taking your money.

Don’t EVER let someone try to put their words in your mouth. You’ll sound like your reading a telemarketing script and as we know anything scripted sounds fake as it is not genuine and authentic, and the one thing that is guaranteed with this way of selling is it will fail.

So, then, what are the keys to great sales?

I’ve worked with thousands of sales people in the field, and with lots of observation and much data, I see the best do these four things at an expert level:

1. They plan – And I’m not talking about filling out forms in Salesforce, or checking some boxes on a blue form. These sales people are the ones who take the time to research and think before they act. Just prior to the sales call, they review all the data they have at hand, and they walk through their objectives, the expected hurdles they might encounter, and perhaps most importantly determine the desired outcome from the interaction. They anticipate potential directions of the call – especially the potential negative turns of the conversation – and plan for those as well.

And here’s where the expert sales people take the interaction it to the next level – they take into account each prospect’s unique situation. That includes knowing what’s going on with the prospect personally; what the mood of the prospect is (do they seem happy or sad?). They know the details of whether the prospect is set up for a promotion. In other words, use any data you can get your hands on – including everything you can observe once the call gets underway – and take into account the perspective of the prospect. (You can ask how you would feel with the conversation if you were the prospect – and honestly determine how you would want the conversation to flow.)

2. They set expectations – Great sales people verbally lay out an agenda and expectations at the start of every sales call. And before you gloss this over and say “yeah, yeah – I‘ve heard this before” – great sales people aren’t looking for non-committal agreement to a loose agenda; they are looking for a “No”. Why? Because “No” means “I’m listening” and I want to move in this direction.

3. They listen – I already know what you are thinking with this one: you already think you do a great job of listening to your prospects. However, rarely do I see people listen like the top performers. The difference is these top sales people listen first, then they clarify and finally ask the next level of questions that move the sale along. And top sales people do this while avoiding the “rabbit holes” of conversation that go nowhere.

4. They are empathetic – Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings that one person has with of another. If you’ve been skimming this piece looking for the key ingredient in the secret sauce – this is it. Truly great sales people demonstrate empathy in all their interactions. They ask the questions, they understand their prospects motivation and they figure out what’s important to each prospect personally. The key is that by being empathetic, the sales person builds a level of trust rarely achieved by most sales people.

So there you have it. While these four key steps and tips won’t transform your sales calls in the blink of an eye, if you put them into practice, they will soon have you closing a higher rate of sales with the prospects in your pipeline.

Bill Morrow is a Managing Partner at Empirical Consulting Solutions. He is a seasoned sales leader with more than two decades of successfully driving growth in companies of all sizes.  He and Laurel Cavalluzzo, ECS Marketing Lead, will hold a workshop on February 8th, 2018 in Berwyn, PA: “Are your Sales and Marketing Teams Aligned? Bridge the Gap to Strong Growth” (click here for more info and to register).

Bill can chat further about any questions you have and would love to hear about your sales superstars and what skills they possess. He is also happy to learn more about your situation – and he and the ECS team might be the fresh set of eyes you need to look at your company in a new light.

Connect with Bill or any other member of the ECS team at or (610) 994-1139.