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Five must-haves for Olympic-level sales

I admit it: I loved watching the Olympics. And it seemed to me that the competitors shared important qualities with the very best salespeople.

As a Sandler sales coach/trainer, I am often asked, “What are the key things a salesperson must have to be successful?” As you can imagine, the list can be endless. But I believe these are the five “must have’s” shared by Olympic athletes and sales champs.

You must have a system— how could an Olympian compete without a powerful, proven system? If you want to be an Olympic sales champion, you have to have a process for identifying, qualifying, and developing selling opportunities. To obtain the greatest sales results, you must be able to systematically qualify opportunities quickly using appropriate measurable criteria.

You must have skill—to implement your system. If you want to be an Olympic sales champion, you have to have valuable skills and one is the ability to communicate: to get your point across—succinctly and meaningfully—using language appropriate to the situation; to ask meaningful questions that keep the conversation focused on topics essential to qualify the opportunity; and, to listen, really listen, to understand both the speaker's content and intent.

You must have belief— If you want to be an Olympic sales champion, you have to believe in yourself, in your company and in your product or service. You must believe in your ability to tackle the job at hand and succeed to whatever level your skill and tenacity will take you. You must believe in your company’s intention to treat its customers fairly and fulfill its obligations to them. And you must believe in the ability of your product or service to deliver to the customer the results promised.

You must have the desire to improve—even if you are at the top of your game. If you want to be an Olympic sales champion, you will keep improving and and get help doing it. There’s a saying in the aviation world: A good pilot is always learning. The same concept is true in the sales world: A good salesperson is always learning – to be more efficient and effective: identifying, qualifying and developing opportunities; representing his or her company; and serving customers.

You must have a 100 percent commitment— If you want to be an Olympic sales champion, you have the “whatever it takes to be successful” attitude towards commitment. Not just lip service about being committed, but undying commitment to be a champion, even when the going gets tough. To doing the very best job you can, and to providing the best possible service to your customers, your colleagues and others who depend on you. Your personal value is not measured by the size of your paycheck but rather by the quality of service you provide to others. When you are committed to providing the best service you can, all the people you touch benefit.

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Gary Harvey

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or gary.harvey@sandler.com.


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