Occasionally a CEO asks us: what differentiates the top salespeople from the bottom salespeople?

If I was a typical underperforming salesperson, I would answer the CEO’s question quickly and proudly with something like this:

 There are 4 competencies that differentiate salespeople.  They are: Hunter, Consultative Seller, Value Seller and Qualifier. The Objective Management Group data warehouse provides us with the data to back this up…See this graph…

The statement above is all true, but does it solve any real problem the CEO has? Does it get to the underlying compelling reason for the CEO to take action?

NO it does not!

The bottom dwelling salespeople will try to sound smart with sharing data, or features, etc.  In reality, it is the salespeople who ask questions and who present themselves as being smarter & competent; more importantly, much more effective. 

Just look at the graph to see just how much better the top salespeople are at asking questions.  Consultative Sellers ask enough questions and in a cadence that makes them 2133% better than the crappy salespeople. 

The questions help the CEO understand the hidden problem.  Once we figure out the financial impact on the company and the CEO and once we discover the business and personal impact of this problem – can we actually help the CEO.

When a CEO asks that question about the difference, what they really want to know is:

  • Can her salespeople be more effective?
  • What will it take to fix the problem?
  • How long will it take to do this?

 If you truly want to help your prospects, asking good questions, tough questions and enough questions is critical to understanding the real concerns and issues.  The prospect does not care about your company, your product or you.  They care about the problem, and sometimes they cannot identify the problem as it is in their blind spot.

 This example in our world is not any different than that of selling a widget to a someone.  The sales professional sells the difference from where they are today, and the future with your solution.  Again, this is accomplished by asking questions.

Do your sales managers coach these ideas?  Is your sales hiring process identifying, if the candidate has the competencies needed to be successful in the role you need to file?  If the answer is no or I don’t know, maybe we can help.

Would you like to learn more about understanding your sales organization? Click here.

Would you like to see how salespeople score in each of the 21 sales core competencies?  Click here.

Maybe you are hiring salespeople and would like to learn  about a tool that is predictive of sales success.  Click here.

Walter has been working successfully in Sales, Sales Development and Sales Management for over 31 years. He is passionate about developing sales professionals for CEOs &Business Owners. If you are frustrated and fed up with sales people who are not accountable, a sales team that is inconsistent and fail to meet objectives, and you want to fix it once and for all, we should have a business conversation. We bring science to creating high performance sales teams that on average grow over 32% in 12 months. walter@waltercrosby.com