I was having a conversation with a colleague about the differences between top performers and everyone else. The conversation caused me to reflect on discussions I’ve had with 1000’s of sales people over the past year.

Clearly, there are differences in sales people and their approaches. The skills and competencies vary by market/industry, customer base, solutions, organizational strategies/priorities, geography/culture and many other things.

Various assessments will tell you there are commonalities in top performers in certain behaviors, attitudes. For example, the ability to take rejection, money motivation, risk tolerance, and so forth. We see certain commonalities in those indicators across top performers.

But one thing that seldom is mentioned, that causes top performers to really stand out to me is their attention to detail.

It’s clear in everything they do and is markedly different from everyone else.

It starts with their purposefulness, focus, and discipline.

They manage their calendars rigorously. Blocking time to get their work done, looking forward weeks, sometimes months.

They set daily goals and measure their attainment against those goals, knowing that little improvements every day create great results over the long term.

They have rigorously refined routines and processes designed to make them as impactful, effective, efficient as possible.

They understand the power of rote repetition applied with discipline and rigor. They look at every part of what they do and what drives results, understanding each detail of execution. They then apply these rigorously, but not blindly, to each similar situation.

They leverage tools and technology to amplify their impact and ability to get things done. They don’t whine or complain about CRM. They’ve already figured out how to use the tools to maximize productivity.

They ALWAYS have a sales process. If their companies haven’t defined a sales process, they’ve defined one for themselves. They know if they consistently execute on that process, they maximize their ability to win, and to win efficiently.

They don’t just plan meetings, they design meetings. They think about what they want to accomplish, they think about who needs to be involved–both from a customer perspective and from their own organizations.

They know how to get things done, both in their own organizations and with their customers.

They prepare incessantly, no detail is too small, they don’t overlook anything.

They are constantly developing themselves and their capabilities. They know to remain a top performer, they must continue to learn.

They leverage their managers to help them grow, learn, and improve.

B and C players keep looking (If they are looking at all) for the 1 or 2 things that top performers do differently. What they miss is that it isn’t 1 or 2 things. It’s the thousands of little things top performers do all the time.

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
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Dave Brock
Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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