Are elite salespeople born or made? After years of studying this subject, John Asher, CEO of Asher Sales Strategies, says, "Both." He's identified and developed five factors for sales success that can help business leaders and sales professionals grow their business.
In my Navy submarine career, I learned to sell. We're all in sales of some sort every day of our lives. I realized that an essential component of leadership was selling your ideas and strategies to others.
After I retired from the Navy and started my business career, I looked for ways to help my engineering company grow with robust, repeatable sales processes. Finding none that worked in all sales cycles and with all customers, I developed my own.
My five factors for sales success system set our company on a course growing at an average of 42 percent per year for 14 straight years. After that, I established Asher Strategies to share my sales success system with other business people. Here they are:
1. Product knowledge (must be learned)
Elite salespeople really do know what they're talking about. Knowledge is power. And it can be binary. If you have a lot of it and the other four factors are in alignment, you have a chance to make a sale. But if you lack knowledge, you'll almost never make the sale. Practical application: educate your sales people
2. Sales aptitude (part of our innate personality)
Of the five factors, this alone accounts for 50 percent of sales results. It's based on our nature and doesn't change much over time. Some 20 percent of us are well suited for sales, 60 percent of us can stretch our sales potential by learning emotional intelligence (EQ) techniques, and 20 percent of us should never be put in front of customers.
Business leaders need a tool to help them hire people well suited for the various sales jobs and develop the potential of the entire workforce. Many personality assessment tools are readily available. We partner with CraftMetrics International in using the Advanced Personality Questionnaire (APQ). Practical application: hire the right people and place them in the right positions
3. Selling skills (must be learned)
Skills rarely come naturally to anybody. But everybody in sales can benefit from skills training. Over time, I developed a top 10 selling skills seminar, and the staff and I have trained over 80,000 people in 22 countries. These 10 strategies are both a list of skills and a logical sales process. The important thing for business leaders to recognize is that sales skills are not something to invest in when there's extra time and extra money; it's essential to growth. No sales, no company. Practical application: train your people to sell
4. Self-Motivation (up to us)
Some people have more grit than others. We know this. It can come from personality and/or circumstance. Great business leaders and great salespeople share this trait – they're self-motivated. Successful companies foster motivation by providing their people, especially their salespeople, with the right tools to get the job done. These include the latest mobile devices, apps and technology. Practical application: give your people the right tools to enable success
5. Sales and marketing processes (provided by the company)
Some companies have processes for everything but sales and marketing. The minimum necessary processes are branding, marketing, sales and account management. At the very least, you have to generate name recognition, gain attention to your products, turn leads into sales, and keep your customers happy and coming back. Practical application: build effective sales and marketing processes
I’ve used these five factors to lead my company to sales success and helped thousands of other business leaders do the same. If you apply them, I guarantee you'll make a difference in your company's growth and well-being.