Yesterday, as I was conducting some sales training for a client, we were talking about the importance of understanding your customer and I was sharing some tools we use to help companies and salespeople gain a better understanding (feel free to download it).
I could tell from the look on a few people’s faces that this was something they hadn’t done before. So, I shared a fundamental insight I’ve gain through 20+ years working with thousands of salespeople.
The biggest difference between great salespeople (who earn 2 – 10x what good salespeople make, and take far more time off as well) and good salespeople is the work the great ones do when they’re not in front of the customer. It’s just like athletics – the great ones practice harder, study more and constantly work on their craft. When you watch how hard someone like Drew Brees works before the game, it’s no surprise that he breaks records and wins Super Bowls (even though physically he’s not an ideal quarterback).
Great salespeople realize that a single small insight, gained from doing discovery work before they meet someone can be the difference between landing a multi-million dollar sale, while bypassing the RFP process, and failing to make the first cut.
Good salespeople work hard, often harder than the great ones. The problem is they dedicate all of their work during and after they meet with someone. They don’t like the pre-call practice and work required to gain those insights.
As you make your 2012 resolutions and goals, resolve to put more effort up-front in your sales efforts. Your income and vacation plans will appreciate it.
By the way, if you’d like to get a jumpstart on this resolution we’ll be sharing 5 insights into getting your sales year off to a fast start on Tuesday. It’s a free webinar and there’s still space to register.