The Secrets of Top Performing Sales Reps

Published on May 28, 2019 by Tom Jenkins | 6 min(s) read time

By now, you've probably heard of the Broadway smash hit, “Hamilton.” The musical, based on the life of the first U.S. treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, has broken records and exceeded all expectations.

 

While the musical is a must-see, it’s also full of wise, pithy quotes that can serve as guidance and motivation for people seeking to rise to the top. In fact, many of the lyrics from Hamilton could also feature as lines in a 'top salesperson' handbook.


We’ve put together a list of the secrets of top performing sales reps, using Hamilton’s story as part of our guide. Here's how the top salespeople do it.

 

 

They know what they can control 


Hamilton’s frenemy Aaron Burr says, “I am the one thing in life I can control.” Successful salespeople know they can gain support and add to their success if they have additional resources available to them (like marketing content or lead sheets).

 

However, they place the burden for success directly on their own shoulders. They’re intrinsically motivated to seek success, rather than being driven solely by external motivating factors like bonuses and rewards. To top performing salespeople, being successful is a goal in and of itself, not just a means to an end.

 

 

They know speed matters


After the Revolutionary War ended, the musical recounts how “Alexander Hamilton began to climb.” According to his colleagues, he was “non stop." Top performing salespeople are too.

 

While they don’t necessarily work around the clock, they also don’t let grass grow under their feet when it comes to connecting with prospects and leads.

 

They know they have a much higher probability of success if they reach out immediately when they see interest from a lead (a 21 times greater success rate, to be precise, if they make a connection within the first five minutes).

 

 

They know quality matters more than quantity 


In the musical, Hamilton says of the bursar at King’s College: “He looked at me like I was stupid; I’m not stupid.”

 

In the same way, average salespeople may express an attitude of incredulity and condescension toward top performers.

 

Why? They don’t understand the methods top performers use to achieve success. While an average performer may be willing to cold call for hours and triumphantly generate a couple of leads from it, a top performer will take a different strategy altogether.

 

Top performers make fewer cold call connections but achieve more success. How is that possible? Top performers look at quality.

 

Using an account-based selling strategy, these top performers will research, understand the needs of the potential client, and build a strategy for connecting with them. They may reach out to fewer prospects overall, but they have a deeper understanding of the ones they connect with.

 

This focus allows them to tailor their efforts, conversations, and presentations specifically to these leads, and to generate higher success rates on their outreach. In fact, research shows 91% of salespeople say account-based efforts lead to a higher close rate.

 

 

But, they know quantity still matters in other ways


When writing the Federalist Papers, James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton planned to write 25 essays defending the new United States Constitution. However, they ended up writing 85 essays: Jay wrote five, Madison wrote 29, and “Hamilton wrote the other 51.”

 

Hamilton made a great deal of content available to the masses. Likewise, top performing salespeople know that providing more quality content can lead to better results. For example, statistics show that 82% of customers view more than five pieces of content from a vendor before selecting their product.

 

Top salespeople look for ways to share content that connects with their prospects, and they work within teams that have a culture of information sharing, including incorporating content creators into their business operations to keep their informational pipeline full.

 

 

They talk less 


Aaron Burr tells Hamilton to “talk less, smile more.” Successful salespeople definitely turn down their own volume so they can listen to their prospects.

 

They also, as Burr suggested, smile more; however, they keep their sunny behaviors in check, too. Smiling can express empathy and create a connection, but too much smiling and joking around can turn your prospects off.

 

Actually, research shows it’s more difficult to keep critical thinking “turned on” when humor gets in the way. Too much joking around can make it harder for your prospects to tune into your finely crafted, persuasive arguments.

 

 

They use connectivity to their advantage 


When George Washington reaches out to Alexander Hamilton for his strategic thinking and diplomacy skills, Hamilton offers multiple solutions to help with the colonies’ issues of being “outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, outplanned.”

 

Foremost, he says, “I have some friends; Laurens, Mulligan, Marquis de Lafayette.” Hamilton knew the connections he’d made would be helpful as they continued forward in the Revolutionary fray.

 

Smart salespeople use connections as well. Chief among these connectivity options is technology, particularly social media.

 

The best salespeople cultivate relationships with prospects by engaging online. After all, 94% of prospects are active on social networking platforms.

 

By engaging with prospects in these forums, they’re able to share useful information, establish themselves as experts, and create engagement – even before they broach a specific sale.

 

And, the results confirm the potential of social media as a means for sales success. 90% of top performing salespeople use social media as a part of their sales strategy.

 

 

They don’t assume they’re the smartest in the room 


After Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton serve as co-counsel on a court case, Burr annoyedly questions Hamilton and asks, “Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?” In this particular case, Hamilton just can’t stop himself from pontificating on the situation, their society, and his skills as an orator.

 

The best salespeople take a cue from Burr’s question: they don’t assume they’re the smartest in the room either. Instead, they understand that buyers want to express their needs, ask questions, and guide the discussion.

 

Eighty-five percent of buyers are dissatisfied with their experience communicating with salespeople over the phone, and data shows the salespeople don’t particularly enjoy the calls either. Top performers use a different strategy.

 

Instead of jumping on the phone, pouring out a ton of information, and expecting the customer to take it in hook, line, and sinker, top salespeople do their research, create a conversation, and acknowledge the potential customer’s input as a valuable part of the sales process.

 

Most importantly, they ask questions. Instead of claiming they already know it all, these sales professionals inquire and gain valuable input, then use that information to highlight the business value their product can offer.

 

 

They Use Everything They Have


If you’re seeking to become a top sales performer, as Hamilton would say: “Do not throw away your shot.” Take advantage of the resources, information, and opportunities provided to you.

 

And, if you’re looking for top sales performers to add to your organization’s success, an outsourced sales team is filled with sales professionals ready to do their best for you and your business.

 

Which top performer traits do you already have in your arsenal, and which do you still hope to cultivate? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below:

 

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Topics: sales