Peak performance in prospecting

A peak performing prospector is a salesperson who displays passion, self motivation and a results focus. Here’s how to get there…


Sue Barrett

Building on from last week’s topic The optimistic sales professional I thought I would extend the theme further and explore the topic of “peak performance in prospecting”.


A peak performing prospector is a salesperson who displays passion, self motivation and a results focus. They are disciplined in their approach, evaluate and pursue viable opportunities while remaining optimistic, resilient, committed and energised.


They are ethical at all times and display empathy, respect and courtesy towards their prospects. To help us look at this in more depth let’s look at what is considered peak performance.


What is peak performance?


“Sustained, continuous performance at world’s best level in the long-term” – (from the book Peak Performance. Business lessons from the worlds Top Sporting Organisations, 2000.


Peak performance is a term that is frequently used in sport. In recent times, the term has made its way into business. There is a strong parallel between competitive sport and prospecting. The concept of peak performance is a very useful metaphor for understanding what it means to be a top performer.


Peak performance involves reaching your optimum potential, and maintaining this level of performance consistently over the long run. This does not mean all the time as in 24/7, but the ability to be consistently effective every day in a measured and disciplined way.


You may like to read an interesting book called The Corporate Athlete: How to Achieve Maximal Performance in Business and Life by Jack L. Groppel and Bob Andelman.


To build on your understanding of peak performance in prospecting, here is a story of a salesperson who is regarded as being one of the best in their field in developing and growing new business.


“Karen won the award as the business development manager of the year for a leading manufacturing of computer software. Throughout the past three years, she consistently surpassed her sales target. She described herself as ‘highly driven and very competitive’.


“Karen started off doing 40 cold calls each day. She now has 250 accounts. She says her greatest thrill comes from converting dormant accounts into active ones. Karen believes that ‘it is vital to establish and build relationships’. She hates losing a sale. When it happens, she says: ‘Its usually because I haven’t grasped the opportunity quickly enough.’


“Karen completed a personality assessment. Her personality strengths were found to be persuasive, extremely confident, definitely willing to take risks when necessary, and very assertive, disciplined, and gregarious. She came across as a truly outgoing, engaging individual who genuinely enjoys opportunities to meet new people and to transfer her knowledge. She enjoys persuading others or ‘guiding’ them to what she believes is the best solution for them.


“And, because of her confidence and assertiveness, she won’t hesitate to share her point of view – which because of her discipline and focus is usually very well considered. Underlying all these qualities is a fundamental urgency, or a need to get things done ‘now’. This sense of urgency enables her to capatalise on opportunities and not allow commitments to go unfulfilled.


“Karen’s approach impresses customers because she conveys a definite perspective, in a confident manner, and wants to make sure her solution is thorough and, ideally delivered before it is even expected.” (Adapted from Greenberg, Weinstein & Sweeney, How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer. The five Qualities that Make Salespeople Great. McGrawHill, 2001.)


Now having looked at a person who is considered a peak performer in prospecting, consider the notion of peak performance as it relates to you or your sales team. Do you believe you and/or they have been performing at a peak level over the past 12 months?


Review the options below:

  • Not at all or very rarely.
  • Occasional glimpses.
  • As often as not.
  • Almost always.


If you have ticked one of the first three options, what do you and/or they need to do to get to a peak level of performance in your prospecting? If you believe you are already there, try to identify opportunities for further improvement.


Areas to consider may be:

  • Skills.
  • Knowledge.
  • Motivation.
  • Attitudes.
  • Your well-being/energy.
  • Mindset around prospecting.
  • Prospecting plan.
  • Clarity/direction/information/tools from management etc.


I wish you happy and prosperous selling.




Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to


For more Sell Like  a Woman blogs, click here.



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