Sales

The six secrets to sales success

- May 1, 2024 3 MIN READ

 

There’s long been interest in uncovering the strategies that drive exceptional sales performance. In today’s fiercely competitive landscape, improved results are not only desired but necessary for organisations’ survival, writes Anna Glynn, author of STRONG: How the Best Sales Leaders Engage, Achieve, and Thrive.

Over the years, research has shed light on the factors that achieve great outcomes in the workplace. Yet, a gap currently exists between what is known and what receives focus, with the traditional emphasis on sales skills like influencing and negotiating. While these skills are essential, they alone aren’t sufficient for sustained success.

In sport, we recognise the importance of the ‘off-field’ factors that contribute to ‘on-field’ performance. Similarly, in sales, there’s a need to cultivate the right mindset and toolset alongside the skillset. These off-field elements encompass adopting an optimistic mindset, leveraging internal resources like strengths, honing resilience skills, nurturing relationships and maintaining motivation.

Despite evidence of their efficacy, these strategies have yet to be fully incorporated into the sales arena. They are often overlooked in sales training, literature, conferences, or industry events, so they have remained somewhat of a secret until now.


Let’s take a look at the six key principles that distinguish top-performing sales professionals. These research-based strategies offer a roadmap for navigating the complexities of sales roles, achieving better results and thriving in today’s competitive environment.

 Six principles of sales success

1. Playing to strengths

To excel in sales, individuals must leverage their strengths while managing their weaknesses, which leads to higher engagement, satisfaction and performance. Yet often, due to external factors outside of our control, the focus is on weaknesses and gaps. By finding ways to use strengths, not only will those in sales be more likely to overcome challenges but achieve success too.

2. Building trust and psychological safety

Trust is fundamental in sales. Those that prioritise building genuine, trusting relationships amongst their team members, clients and stakeholders alike will do better over the long term. When individuals are part of an environment where they can openly communicate, regularly provide feedback, share their learnings, and be vulnerable, they are more likely to collaborate and be innovative, which fuels their resilience and performance, and can give them a competitive edge.

3. Strengthening your sales teams’ resilience

In the face of constant setbacks and challenges, resilience is essential for those in sales to be able to persevere and thrive. The ability to bounce back from setbacks, and grow from adversity is what distinguishes exceptional sales professionals. Without resilience, salespeople might procrastinate and avoid challenges, which can lead to demotivation and withdrawal.


4. Learning optimism

Optimism is powerful catalyst for sales success, with optimists consistently outperforming pessimists by 20-40% on average. Sales professionals must cultivate an optimistic mindset as it inspires problem-solving, encourages action and energises performance. By being optimistic, salespeople can seize opportunities and better prepare themselves for challenges. It doesn’t mean being blindly optimistic and ignoring the challenges but rather having a realistic understanding of the situation and a belief in one’s ability to navigate it successfully.

5. Fostering high quality networks

Quality relationships are fundamental to sales success. Sales professionals must prioritise nurturing high-quality relationships, both with clients and team members, recognising the impact of these connections on energy and stress levels, and ultimately success. This involves not just building relationships, but also maintaining them. It’s about being there for one another, providing support, and creating a sense of belonging.

6. Achieving goals and purpose

Intrinsic motivation plays a vital role in the pursuit of goals not external factors like money or punishment. By satisfying their needs for competence, autonomy, relatedness, and meaning, individuals can fuel their drive towards success. By setting clear goals and aligning their purpose with the mission of their organisation, sales people will be inspired to strive for excellence and achieve long-lasting success.

Embracing these six key principles offers a transformative approach to sales success. By prioritising mindset and toolset alongside traditional skillset training, you can unlock their full potential and achieve long-term sustainable results. It’s time to bridge the gap between what is known and what is practised in the sales arena, and to embrace a holistic approach that empowers individuals to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Let’s move away from outdated paradigms and pave the way for a new era of sales excellence.


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