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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Habits of successful salespeople

As the advertising director at The Saratogian, I manage a team of 9 outside sales reps and managers in addition to an inside sales staff. Although it's not always the case, this particular group of sales professionals has incredible synergy as a team with several at or approaching "rock star" status.

Every sales manager knows that creating and managing a successful team takes skill, experience, timing and, in my opinion - a little bit of luck. Recruiting talent is commonly an agenda item on management conference calls these days because it's both challenging to pull off and at the same time critical to a company's bottom line. So, what does it take to build a successful team?

I thought I'd take a look at my current team for information and inspiration. As it turns out, they have some things in common:

- 77% played competitive sports in high school and/or college.
- More than half hold degrees in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing, Communications and Economics.
- 2 hold degrees in Fashion Marketing/Merchandising.

So are sales people hard wired for the profession? Partly, I think. Sure it's about maximizing natural talent, but it's also about developing the right habits.

This week's sales meeting/training I held focused on time management and other habits that successful sales people have in common. Let's face it, just about everyone I know is being asked to do more, do it better, and do it FAST. Patricia Drain, author of Sell the Sizzle, had the opportunity to interview 177 top sales producers, both male and female, from all backgrounds. She discovered several main points in common. Here's what she had to say:

"...I discovered that each individual followed certain daily habits that took them to the level of Top Producer in their profession,” says Patricia.

7 Habits That Top Sales Producers Have in Common Are:

Habit #1: Develop a PLAN. Sizzling salespeople plan their days, weeks and months. They set goals in place and work their plan to exceed those goals.

Habit #2: They Create a Clear FOCUS. Sizzling salespeople ALWAYS stay focused on their specialty and their plan. They stay focused by prioritizing each day.

Habit #3: They Ask QUESTIONS. Sizzling salespeople understand and utilize the art of asking the right questions. They list the RIGHT questions to ask when sizzle selling.

Habit #4: They SHARPEN Their Skills. Sizzling salespeople understand the importance of sharpening their saws. They invest in the resources needed to assure ongoing training.

Habit #5: They Understand the Power of NUMBERS. They understand that to increase their sales, they must increase their prospects, customer base and sales volume.

Habit #6: They Know How to Stay in CONTROL. Sizzling salespeople stay in control of themselves to stay on track. They use this control to keep a personal balance in their lives.

Habit #7: They Have a Strong BELIEF SYSTEM. Sizzling salespeople believe they are worthy of the highest earnings, commissions or salary, and that their time is extremely valuable.

I'd like to add a few more I've observed during my 20 years in sales:

Habit #8: They know that INNOVATIVE thinking keeps them one step ahead of their colleagues and competition.

Habit #9: They know how to answer what's in it FOR THE CLIENT when developing pitches, RFP responses and presentations.

Habit #10: They possess INTEGRITY and know that at the end of the day, doing it right trumps selling out.

Source: Patricia Noel Drain is an international author and speaker living in Arizona. Visit her online at and

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