Persistence Over Polish - What the Top 10% of All Salespeople Do Better

By  Dave Kurlan


The best athletes in the world know exactly how they do the things they do that make them so great.  In addition to their God-given talent, they outworked everyone else to master the mechanics and nuances of their sport, the mindset required for greatness, and competed at a high level from a very young age.  When they falter they can easily make the adjustments necessary to get back on track.

Interestingly, most top salespeople don't know what it is that they do that makes them so successful! That's surprise #1.  If you look through the data on the 1.7 million salespeople that Objective Management Group (OMG) has assessed, you will see that the top 10% of all salespeople have better average scores than their colleagues in each of the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Their average scores are listed below for 5 Sales Core Competencies in which they have the best scores.  


They are:


Rejection Proof with an average score of 92. Top salespeople continue asking questions long after other salespeople have given up, allowing them to close opportunities that others have walked away from.


Comfortable Talking About Money with an average score of 90. This strength allows top salespeople to have the conversation other salespeople don't have after a prospect says that they either don't have a budget or don't have enough money in the budget.  Top salespeople excel at helping their prospects find the money.


Great at Hunting with an average score of 89. Top salespeople have pipelines with opportunities that are both high in quantity and quality.  With so much being written about the relatively new BDR and SDR roles that allow good salespeople to focus on meetings while lower paid and lesser skilled reps make the first calls, this would suggest that the best salespeople do well because they are scheduling their own calls and meetings.


Thinking Positive Thoughts with an average score for Supportive Beliefs of 87. Their beliefs support ideal sales outcomes while other salespeople struggle with beliefs that sabotage their efforts.  Beliefs affect behavior and behavior drives results.


Doesn't Need to be Liked scoring an average of 86. This strength helps top salespeople listen and ask questions, challenge when appropriate and push back when necessary, all of the key components of an effective consultative seller.  This component of Sales DNA is also a requirement for selling value.

Surprise #2 is that 4 of the top 5 scores are elements of Sales DNA which represent 6 of the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Will to Sell has 5, there are 7 Tactical Selling Competencies, including Hunting, above, and 3 Sales Core Competencies can be found in Systems and Processes.  So what does it mean when only 1 top score is a tactical competency and 4 are from Sales DNA?

Surprise #3 is that having strong Sales DNA trumps having strong selling skills.  After processing 1.7 million sales evaluations and assessments, I've seen numerous salespeople who knew what to do, who to do it to, and when to do it; but they couldn't execute what they knew because of their weak Sales DNA.  And I've seen numerous salespeople who lacked a sales process and the tactical selling skills but found a way to get deals done because of their strong Sales DNA.  Sometimes, the top salespeople simply differentiate with persistence over polish.

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