Method and madness

High-performing salespeople (hyper-salespeople) are on the edge, constantly pushing the boundaries to improve and gain an advantage.

Competitive by nature, they hate to lose. Every opportunity is a chance to express their skills and commitment to their cause. They value their time and take what they do seriously. To fail is to completely invalidate their efforts and, in ways, who they are as people.

For many hyper-salespeople their role is more than a job, they consider it a body of work. Insert just a few of these types of high performers into a sales team and you’ll see any business radically transform. So how do you develop and support your core sales team to evolve to sales superstars?

Every sales team should have critical insights and a clear view of what success looks like. Building a “success profile” is essential to determine a framework for what capabilities, skills and behaviours you need to nurture, encourage and replicate. This serves as a blueprint to grow and develop your team. It forms a foundation from which to establish a proficiency pathway to achieve enhanced time to competence and aspired success.  

I work with hundreds of salespeople every year. What strikes me most about hyper-salespeople is the way they operate. Their approach seems seldom rigid, rather more fluid and natural. They do, however, work to a trusted method that has room for adaption or tailoring where necessary.

Most have a natural creative flair that allows them to communicate the bigger picture and tell a compelling story. Some others are deeply analytical and walk to a structured beat. And there are, of course, the instinctive entrepreneurs who embrace risk and see things through the prism of opportunity.

How do you harness these innate characteristics and effectively incorporate them into the trusted method? It’s challenging and in ways counterintuitive. The most effective approach is to exploit these natural traits and ensure the model is fluid enough to accommodate them. The less successful will invariably underutilise their intrinsic talents, failing to identify what they can develop to align to the profile of success.

To get the best from your sales team often means letting some of them go, and if you’re really honest, perhaps most of them. Take a blowtorch to your low performers! Particularly those who fail to demonstrate a willingness to grow. Let them fail somewhere else at someone else’s expense.

The middle-band under your hyper category has the highest growth potential. To develop these people means getting clear on your “success profile” and to identify any capability and experience gaps. From there you can establish a clear proficiency pathway that develops these capabilities and provides experiences to ensure the opportunity for success is fast-tracked. This development pathway is supported by ongoing coaching and relevant on the job opportunities to practice.

As for your current hyper-salespeople, keep challenging them! They will demand higher mountains to climb, so inspire them. They are often unique characters, be sure to acknowledge their capabilities and reward their unique contributions. They often see and approach things differently to most, and that’s what makes them so valuable. What may seem madness to others, works for them — harness it!

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