Are you looking for a shortcut to sales success? Well, I have bad news, good news, better news and then the best news.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way. There are no shortcuts. You say, “but there must be. I see people all the time who make it seem so easy, there must be a shortcut.” Sales is like any profession, the top performers make it appear easy, but that is the visible result of a lot of hard work and preparation that only makes the presentation appear easy. “Appear” being the key word.

Okay, now let’s look at the positives. The good news is most of your competition will either waste time looking for shortcuts that don’t exist or, even worse, simply ignore the need to put in the hard work. Here’s the even better news, you probably already know what you need to be doing to achieve Top Performer status. The best news is that you have absolute control over moving to that level. It comes down to only one very powerful concept, execution.

That’s it, execution. There are no shortcuts. There are no secrets. Everyone, in every field, knows what it takes to be a top performer. What separates the top performers from everyone else is the discipline to execute on what we all know needs to be done.

If the answer is so easy, why are there so many average performers? The answer is that most of us don’t take the time to really execute consistently or effectively. Address the following issues and you will be well on your way.

Plan for success
If you want to be a Top Performer, you have to plan for that success. PFS Exercise – Picture yourself a little further into your career. Write down what you would consider to be very successful. Now, from that perspective, look back in time to the present and make a list of everything that would need to happen for you to achieve that level of success. Incorporate that plan into your weekly schedule. Yes, schedule this (and everything else that is important to your success) on your calendar. Visit the plan regularly.

Know your strengths
Take advantage of your strengths. KYS Exercise – With the help of someone who knows you well, make a list your greatest talents (limit the list to the top 4 or 5). Write them down and describe for yourself how they will lead to sales success. As you plan your week, be sure to identify a specific way you will use each of your strengths and make it a “have to.”

Personal development
Good enough today won’t be tomorrow. PD Exercise – Take inventory of your current level of command in the following areas: sales skills, technical knowledge, and general business knowledge. Identify any area where you aren’t at least “better than most”. Make gaining those skills and knowledge a regular, scheduled part of your week.

Practice, practice, practice
We all know how hard it is to get in front of that ideal prospect. Don’t blow it because your competition shows up better prepared. PPP Exercise – Never allow yourself to be giving a presentation for the first time in front of a prospect. The toughest audience is our peers, use that to help you prepare. Before your next prospect presentation, engage a peer to play the role of the prospect and practice your presentation. Ask them for honest, constructive feedback. Don’t forget, they are working to help ensure your success.

Personal accountability
Make yourself accountable to someone, anyone. The power of making a public statement of your intentions is very powerful. PA Exercise – Document all of your “have to’s” (quarterly is good, monthly is better, but weekly is best) and share them with as many people around you as possible (not just peers, but people at all levels). Don’t just give them permission to hold you accountable, set the expectation that they will hold you accountable.

While there are no shortcuts and there are no secrets, the answer to being a top performer is rather simple. Execute on doing what you already know you should be doing and you’ll leave 98% of your competition in the dust. The competition will be staring up at you wondering how you make it appear so easy.

Ask yourself, “How bad do I really want it?”


Originally published on © Copyright 2010 Zywave, Inc.

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