3 Ways to Overachieve in Sales, According to the Harvard Business Review


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What makes successful salespeople successful? Some would say it’s their charming ability to win over customers. Others would say it’s their inherent drive to never give up. I would say it’s whether or not they use an intelligent sales platform, like Spiro. Well, we don’t have to guess anymore, because a research study highlighted in the Harvard Business Review has provided us with the answers.

This article sums up the findings of a study conducted by Steve Martin, in which he interviewed 1,000 salespeople to find out what attributes all the top performers had in common. Three main things stuck out to me.

1) Get Motivated By Your Peers

It is interesting to note, that although money plays an important role in motivating the top sales reps, a larger percentage of them (84%) said being recognized and respected by their peers was a motivating factor.

Find a way to celebrate each other’s successes, and when you are the one being celebrated, that will give you the extra motivation to keep going. Ring a bell every time a big deal comes in, or have a leaderboard of top sales reps streaming as your screensaver.

There is even an app, called YouEarnedIt, where employees can give their co-workers virtual money for a good job, and then later on those top winners can cash it in for real prizes. Peer to peer recognition works, and the Harvard Business Review shows that research backs up the fact of its motivating powers.

2) Be Organized

This group of salespeople who reach 125% of their quota time and time again, are not fly by the seat of their pants type of people. The research shows that they keep a list of tasks, think about their career and future, and are planners. Top performing salespeople tend to be take the bull by the horns people – they answered the survey saying that they went into sales to create their own destiny and because they knew that the harder they worked, the more money they could make.

Find a way to get organized – take use of the tasks feature in Salesforce, or make a daily mental checklist of how many calls you want to get through before lunch. Set goals and then strategically work through them.

My top recommendation would be to get a personal assistant, like Spiro, which will automatically create a list of next steps you need to take on all of your opportunities. Spiro knows the last time you met, called or emailed a prospect, and uses artificial intelligence to know when you should reach out next. We know the top sales reps are busy selling, so let Spiro help keep you organized!

3) Emotionally Connect with Your Prospects

The Harvard Business Review article then goes on to discuss the top performers’ strategies on getting their deals done. The leading answer was to find a way to emotionally connect with your customers. This response significantly outweighed driving the conversation or showing your product’s value.  Getting the customer to like you, and then building trust by proving to them that you can help with their success is key here.

The goal is to really connect with your clients, don’t manipulate your customer or be a sleazy used car salesman. Go into a meeting with a smile on your face, remember their name, and always let them finish their thoughts. Find a common ground you can both emotionally relate to and then make a note of that, so you remember what is important to them.

A friend once told me his company internally used to tell the sales reps, “keep your friends close and your customers even closer”.

In Conclusion

If you want to be a rockstar salesperson, you need to be motivated, organized, and connected with your customers. But how do these top reps view themselves? Is this how they would describe their characteristics?

One of the most interesting parts of the study was asking this group of 1,000 sales professionals to describe how they saw themselves. For those not making quota, they answered with “responsible, likable, confident..”, while the 125% quota crushers, saw themselves as “confident, X-factor, quick-witted”.

You can see a difference here – the top reps have confidence as the number one way others view them. Confidence is king in the game of sales!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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