The behaviour that separates ‘good’ from ‘great’

What are the attributes that separate the best in the business from the merely adequate? 4 sales experts tell us what they’re looking for.

Last month we staged our 5th Sales Confidence live event at GoCardless HQ London. We had 100 SaaS enthusiasts watching two sales leaders, a consultant and a coach sharing their secrets. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our articles.

Any questions?

After the last speaker, it was time for questions from the floor. Here’s one from, actually I don’t know who asked it. If it was you, please let us know!

‘What behaviour separates an excellent salesperson from just a good one?’

An excellent question there, and one we can all learn from. We all like to think we’re good at what we do, but we can always improve. Let’s see what the 4 experts on our panel thought.

Marcus Oulds

Marcus, VP of Sales at GoCardless, our hosts for the evening, kicked off.

‘Inquisitiveness is one for me. It means they’ll learn themselves. They’ll try to understand. They’ll go and find something out for themselves.’

‘The other one is coachability. It means they won’t be a pain in the arse to manage, and it means they’ll develop as well.’

Hannah Godfrey

Hannah, our startup advisor from Winning By Design took the view that you can tell who is great and who isn’t from the little things.

‘Whenever I interview someone, if they’re not taking notes, I’m not going to hire them. I’ll tell them that on the spot.’

‘If you give them a glass of water and they don’t try and take it away at the end. That’s another one. It’s the little things that indicate culture.’

What a terrific answer. I heard a quote, ‘How you do one thing is how you do everything’. I agree with that. Do the small things right. The bigger things will follow.

Anna Baird

Our panel’s sales consultant went next.

‘Two things. If you don’t know the answer to something but say you’re going to find out, you actually go and do it. If you don’t know the answer, find the person that does. That sets people apart.’

‘Next, in a conversation, being able to control the time. Usually, when you think you’ve got half an hour in a meeting, you’ve only got 15. The elevator is late, or they have to pee or whatever. The best salespeople are nimble. They take their insights and get their message across, cutting it down to the time they’re allowed.’

Martin Tucker

The final response came from Martin Tucker, super sales coach.

‘I see sales as being mindset, productivity, communication skills, then sales capability on top of that. The communication layer is incredibly important. You need to build the trust that needs to be between the salesperson and potential buyer. You need to allow the information to flow, to engage them in an effective way. Sales skills are just an extension of core communication skills.’

Great answer. It’s no secret that the best communicators seem to be the best at whatever they do, whether it’s business, sport, politics or anything else.

James Ski

As usual, I didn’t get to put my two cents across, but now I’ve got an article I can do it here!

I wrote an article last year about ‘sales DNA’. You can read it here. What separates the merely good from great are small things which you either have, or you don’t. Coaching can make it more effective, but it has to be there in the first place.

· Energy — Mental strength, curiosity, hunger

· Enthusiasm — The ability to build rapport

· Belief — In your company, your product and yourself

· Positive Outlook — The resilience to get back up when you’re knocked down

· Care — The desire to help. Your customer’s success is your success


What do you think? What actions separate the best from the rest in your eyes? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’d like to be in the room for the next Sales Confidence live event, click on our events page. I look forward to seeing you.

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