Just like regular people, salespeople have lots of habits. Some good, and some not so much. Habits are those behaviors we acquire over time. They’re behaviors we do without thought or effort; we just do them. Some bad sales habits include talking or selling when we should be listening, interrupting people (so we can talk more), winging a sales call, making commitments we might not be able to honor, you get the idea.
Top sales professionals have two sales habits, not by accident, but by design and self-discipline.
Sales Habit #1: Preparation
Pre-call preparation is an essential function for sales pros. Before every sales call, they ask themselves (and then state it to the prospect, customer, or client), “What’s the purpose of this call?” It’s their call objective. So whether it is discovery, needs analysis, demonstration, or proposal delivery, they always, by habit, know what the purpose of their call is. As a side note, the purpose of the call is rarely to sell something, check in, or touch base.
Top sales pros, to be crystal clear on the purpose of their calls, ask themselves these three additional questions:
- What do I already know? (Homework)
- What do I need to know that I don’t? (Questions they need to ask)
- What do I need them to share or admit? (What to listen for)
This habit in action looks like this “Hello, Mr. Customer, thank you for meeting with me today; the purpose of my call is…”
Sales Habit #2: Next Step(s)
Closing. It’s every salesperson and sales manager’s dream. A closed deal. Far too often, though, the typical salesperson isn’t in the habit of closing the next step at the end of every sales call. Let alone closing the deal when it’s time to close. There are various reasons for this: fear, lack of planning, the uncertainty of customers’ real needs, excitement, etc.
The best sales professionals make the next steps a part of their pre-call preparation routine by thinking about the next step before making the call! Then, by habit, ask the buyer for a commitment on the next step date and time.
This habit in action looks like this “So, what’s our next step?” Only after they gain agreement on the next step, date, and time is the sales call complete.
The fastest way to create a habit isn’t over time, as many people would believe. The adage that it takes 21 days to make a new habit isn’t true. The real driver in creating new habits is repetition. The more you do something, the more that something becomes a habit.
The easiest way to develop these two habits is by stating at the beginning of every sales call, “The purpose of my call is…” and asking at the end of every sales call, “So, what’s our next step?”
The best way to build a new habit is by reading (or listening to) Atomic Habits by James Clear. It is a well-researched and efficient approach to creating new habits that stick.