After a few years of managing high achieving salespeople, I noticed that there are key differences between the best sales reps and the rest in how they conduct themselves. One of the most noticeable differences is what they did outside of the office.
Simply put, the top performing reps kept working while the majority of reps, come 5pm, would leave the office and not touch any work until 9am the following morning. While unplugging at the end of the day isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I noticed the best reps were unique in the sense that they did at least one and usually all of these 5 things outside the office.
- Watch their email and voicemail – the best reps operate with the highest sense of urgency. They accept the credos to “strike while the iron is hot” and that “time kills deals”. They don’t leave anything to tomorrow if it can be done today. At night, they’re watching for messages from prospects, and checking for updates on deals. They understand the importance of momentum and respond to all communications within five minutes, literally 24/7.
- Planning – the best sales reps don’t plan their day in the morning, they do so in the evening prior. They review their daily activities and identify what goals have been met and are still outstanding. They scrutinize these activities and identify the ones that best contributed to achieving their goals. They use this information to help set priorities and schedule for the coming day so they can get up early and hit the ground running.
- Personal development – on-the-job training is critical but oftentimes there are additional skills that can only be acquired during personal time. Whether spending time with a mentor, researching online or reading books, the best sales reps spend considerable time working to make themselves better professionally and personally.
- Rest – it takes an immense amount of energy to actively hunt and close new business. The highest achieving sales representatives understand that getting a sufficient amount of rest is critical in maintaining their edge. Whether playing sports, going to a museum, enjoying down time with family or catching up on much needed sleep, top performers make sure to recharge the batteries to get the fuel they need to be successful.
- Keep their commitments – Trust is a key factor in selling success and the best reps understand that staying true to their commitments extends outside of the boardroom. High achievers work hard to be able to over deliver on their promises and often it takes work outside regular business hours to make this happen.
Success is seldom accidental – the best sales representatives have just as much discipline and commitment to achieving their goals when they’re not in the office as when they are.
To your success!
Photo by Joshua Earle.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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