Sales can be intimidating to newcomers. You’ll struggle to find good leads and close meaningful conversations. You’ll get stuck in ruts, and you’ll compare yourself to top performers in your organization who are somehow faring far better than you are.
Even experienced salespeople can struggle in a new environment. And unfortunately, there’s no surefire formula to succeed in sales.
We can’t offer you any magic beans.
But we can share some of the habits the best salespeople in the business have developed to guide them to success. So strap in, and get ready for the 17 sales habits you need to develop to crush it in Sales.
17 Sales Habits
One of the biggest secrets to long-term sales success is consistency. That’s why developing good habits is so important.
If you can develop these habits in yourself, you’ll stay focused on what’s important and set yourself up for an amazing career in Sales.
So, let’s get into it.
Establish meaningful goals
The act of setting goals is a powerful one, and if you do it consistently, you’ll be far more likely to succeed. Setting goals helps direct your efforts, and once in place, your goals will serve as powerful motivators for achievement.
People with goals are ten times more likely to be successful, and people with written goals are three times more likely to be successful than those with unwritten goals.
Just make sure the goals you are following are SMART. If they aren’t specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific, they aren’t going to help you.
Function as an individual and as part of a team
Some people believe salespeople work best as individuals, mastering their own unique approach, while others speculate that it’s better to work together as a team, learning from each other and accommodating individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.
In reality, you need a mix of both approaches. Spend time trading tips and learning from the other members of your team, and collaborate to accomplish big projects. But spend plenty of time identifying your individual strengths and weaknesses and building your own unique approach.
Know your customer personas
Customer personas are mock-ups of what your average customer looks like. What do your customers value? How do they think? Where do they live? And how do they have fun?
If you have multiple discrete target demographics, you may have multiple buyer personas, but Whatever the case, they’re not helpful if you don’t know them inside and out.
The better you know your customers, the better you can sell to them.
Identify objections early
No matter how good or valuable your product is, you’re going to encounter people who don’t want to buy it — at least initially. You’ll encounter the same types of objections over and over.
For example, people may be worried about your product’s security, or they may feel like it costs too much.
The best way to get past these objections is to understand and anticipate them. Make it a habit to identify potential customer objections before they come up.
Is there a way you can assuage these concerns? Or can you prove that your product is worth tolerating its drawbacks? Or are some objections so powerful that they can’t be worked past?
Find this out beforehand, so you’re ready for when a customer brings it up.
People who succeed in Sales long-term measure everything they do. For starters, you’ll want to measure things like your close rates, lead quality, and total sales.
But if you want to dig deeper, you’ll need to measure more qualitative aspects of your performance, like your email engagement, and even how you spend your time throughout the day.
These metrics will tell you what you’re doing right, what’s holding you back, and how your tools and techniques are working. They allow you to objectively assess how you’re performing and discover new ways to improve.
Minimize time spent not selling
Salespeople, on average, spend less than a third of their day actually selling. Let that sink in. You’re a professional salesperson, yet you’re spending two-thirds of your day on company meetings, administrative tasks, and let’s face it, some pure waste as well.
Find ways to minimize the time you’re not selling. Depending on your situation, that might include delegating tasks, skipping non-essential meetings, or automating microtasks with an app.
Too many new salespeople believe that the secret to closing more deals is to remain in control of the conversation — persuading someone with a barrage of claims and good points. In reality, you’ll be more successful carrying out a balanced conversation that includes plenty of active listening.
According to one study, most successful salespeople only speak for 54 percent of the time during sales calls.
Instead of steamrolling over your prospects with a lecture or lengthy pitch, let them do the talking. Figure out what their needs are, their pain points, and what kind of solution they’re looking for. From there, you’ll be able to craft the perfect pitch.
Avoid bad leads
Companies that qualitatively score their leads are ultimately able to generate 20 percent more conversions.
Because they’re able to dedicate their efforts to the most promising leads, and therefore the most valuable opportunities. Even the best salesperson wouldn’t be able to achieve great results if they were spending most of their day talking to low-quality leads
You can achieve better lead quality and transparency by creating better lead-generation processes and scoring leads before you even talk to them. The first step is knowing what constitutes a good lead, which you’ll need to work with your team to figure out.
This needs to be a habit for you, even if it’s not something your organization does.
Learn from top performers
There are already people in your organization who know how to succeed in sales, so spend some time following in their footsteps. Shadow them for a day. Listen to their calls. Read their emails.
What are they doing that you aren’t doing? Which tactics can you incorporate into your own processes?
If your entire team is struggling, consider finding a mentor or a successful salesperson from another organization. The best salespeople never stop learning.
Follow up and be persistent
Too many salespeople neglect the art of the follow-up. 48% of salespeople never make a single attempt to follow-up, yet 60% of customers say “no” four times before eventually saying “yes.”
It’s important to spend time issuing follow-up calls, sending additional email messages, and dabbling in different communication mediums to try and progress the conversation.
If you walk away too early, you could be giving up the entire sale.
Know when to walk away.
All that being said, it is possible to spend too much time on a lead that isn’t going anywhere. Make sure you space your follow-up attempts a few days apart, so you aren’t overwhelming your prospect, and call it quits if you haven’t heard anything after six or seven attempts.
Even better, automate this process as much as possible with email outreach tools, so you waste as little time as possible on opportunities with little promise.
Integrate new hacks and shortcuts.
One way to improve your sales success rate is by improving your productivity and efficiency overall. If you’re more attentive and alert, you’ll get more done during the workday, which ultimately translates to more throughput.
There are hundreds of productivity hacks and shortcuts that can save you time in various ways. For example, you can take power naps in the afternoon, or use email filters to automatically sort incoming emails on your behalf.
These small habit changes and new tactics may not seem like much, but together they can overhaul your sales productivity rate.
Personalize each call or touchpoint
Many new salespeople attempt to make their process as replicable as possible, but prospects can tell when they’re being fed a template or a script.
Personalization has enormous power to influence prospect responsiveness. 82% of marketers see an increase in email open rates after introducing personalization.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to work from a general framework repeated for each new lead, it’s also important to personalize your efforts. Research your prospect before reaching out, and come to them with a conversation and an overall experience that’s unique to them.
Review your past work
It’s much easier to see your mistakes in hindsight than it is to notice them in real-time. It’s the Monday morning quarterback effect, also known as hindsight bias.
But you can use this to your advantage.
Spend some time each week reviewing your work, including interactions that led to profoundly good and profoundly bad results.
What did you do right? What could you have done better?
Focus on building relationships
Instead of focusing on closing sales, focus on building long-term relationships. You’ll get to know your customers better, which will allow you to address their concerns with greater empathy and relevance.
You’ll also easily expand your professional network, making it easier to discover leads and close sales in the future. This will lead to more sales in the long-run.
Plus, a meager 5% increase in customer retention can boost profit by as much as 90 percent. If you spend time making your customers feel appreciated and understood, they’re going to be far more likely to stick with you for the long haul.
Experiment and analyze
Some sales techniques that work extraordinarily well for one business can fall completely flat in another. If you want to maximize your chances of succeeding in sales, it’s on you to experiment with new tools, techniques, and approaches.
Just make sure you measure everything along the way — including your email activity and conversion rates –- so you can tell, definitively, whether your experiment was a success.
Keep the processes that work, and get rid of the ones that don’t.
Never stop improving
Sales is a process, and it’s a field that’s always changing. There’s no set formula that will guarantee results every time. And even if there was, it would eventually be rendered obsolete due to changing competitive landscapes, new customer attitudes, evolving company goals, and the emergence of new technology.
If you want to know how to succeed in sales long-term, the real secret is to remain adaptable and keep improving.
Learn to change with the times, and challenge your previous assumptions so you can continue on a trajectory of growth.
The Power of a Habit in Sales
Much of your success in the world of sales will depend not on the tactics you execute periodically, but on the habits you develop continually. Standalone goals and isolated incidents won’t help you nearly as much as cultivating a cohesive, repeatable process.
Spend time reinforcing good habits throughout your workday and in your deeper sales philosophy. Eventually those positive habits will pay off big.