I've had countless people ask me, "What is the one thing I need to do to be a great salesperson?" That's a loaded question. I've found that it's rarely, if ever, just one thing. But to attempt to answer the question, I start with just one thing: belief. What people believe about themselves, others, life, eternity, the world--you name it--influences almost everything about them.
Here are the seven core beliefs--transcending sales roles, companies, and industries--unique to superstar salespeople:
1. Entrepreneurial spirit
They own their job. Whether working in a call center or landing billion-dollar deals, top performers don't have to be told twice. They see what needs to be done and they do it. No prodding or external force is required.
2. Effective execution
They believe that execution is the key to outcomes. They must execute the right activities consistently--prospecting, networking, trust building, needs analysis, qualifying, presenting, negotiating, closing, following up, etc. Sales don't just happen; they are made through a series of well-thought-out steps and tasks grounded in a rational philosophy. You create success from the talent and resources available to you.
3. People value
They believe every person possesses intrinsic value, from the receptionist to the engineer, from the truck driver to the CEO. People aren't titles--they're, well, people! They are moms and dads, friends, siblings, movie lovers, and sports fanatics. Some love to travel and others are content to be alone. Some have a good home-life and others do not. Some are easily likable and others are barely tolerable. Yet all people are of great value, and superstars treat them that way.
4. Purpose-driven motivation
They believe what they do has meaning and purpose. Yes, money is a motivator, but the real question is, "For what purpose?" Superstars know why they want to make money, and it can be different for everyone--support their family, provide security, maintain a certain lifestyle, care for their aging parents, or support the work of their favorite charity. They also know what they do positively impacts individuals, other businesses, the economy, and their community. They are driven to fulfill that greater purpose.
5. Prosperity consciousness
They believe they can and will win, one way or another. They possess not only the will to win, but also the fundamental belief they actually will win. Obstacles are simply opportunities to grow, problems to solve, and milestones in the adventure called life.
6. Support system
They believe that a healthy support system, typically family members, friends, and a mentor, is required for true sustainability. Over a long period of time, some very good salespeople experience burnout or simply lose their motivation. The great performers I've witnessed long term who maintain consistent success, even in the face of difficulty, rely on the strength of their relationships with their inner circle. They invest the time and effort to enrich those relationships as a part of their daily life.
They believe in the power of "No." Top performers get asked to do many things. Why wouldn't they? They're successful, and people are attracted to that and want their expertise. However, superstars know their priorities, as well as their limits. They won't sacrifice quality time with loved ones, much needed rest, or important work rituals. They know how to gracefully yet firmly say no to requests--even from customers and their boss. They can do it because they know what it takes to perform at a high level and refuse to allow any interference they can control.
I've learned more from watching and working with great salespeople in my career than from many of the books I've read, seminars I've attended, or research I've conducted. Witnessing firsthand the art and science of professional selling masterfully performed is like watching a great actor or singer at his or her best. Take some reflective time to ask yourself, "What do I really believe?" Compare your answers with the common beliefs held by top performers and see if there is room for growth for you.