Top Sellers Teach! But First, They Listen and Learn

What are top sellers? Well first, they’re people! Second, they sell things (products or services). And perhaps most notable: they’re successful at selling.

In most organizations, top sellers have a reputation. Because well, they’re usually very good at their job! But unfortunately, the reputation I’m referring to isn’t always about how good they are at closing deals. More often than we’d like, we hear a lot of head trash around top sellers.

“Sandy is too aggressive.”

“I could never sell like Jim.”

Now, before you get offended and start writing me hate mail, hold up. There is nothing wrong with being a top performer. In fact, we encourage it! And another fact: being a top seller is not only something to aspire to, it’s something to be proud of too.

So then, what’s the big idea here?

Well, we have a philosophy here at CFS. We believe that when top performers share their successes and failures with the team, everyone wins.

The key here is that this often requires a mental shift.

First, those who are not considered “top sellers” (yet) need to recognize that there are tremendous opportunities to learn from top performers. But they must be open to it.

Second, top performers must also acknowledge that time spent teaching others is not time wasted.

Third, both parties must embrace the power of team collaboration and how storytelling helps to drive success.

Let’s explore!

Top Sellers Listen

This week our team met Jerome Deroy and Sasha Dorje Meyerowitz of Narativ. Both Jerome and Sasha are master storytellers. Actually, that’s exactly what they do! Narativ exists to help bridge gaps between people, and they do so through listening and storytelling.

I mention this because they told us a story that caused me to have this “a-ha” moment about top sellers. The story was so impactful that here I am, writing all about top sellers! Here’s the gist:

There once was a company. The company had a top performing salesperson that was incredible at her job. There were a number of other salespeople at the company, but none seemed to be able to do what this one particular salesperson could. Queue Narativ. They came into the company and had a listening session where they allowed the top performer to share her story. See, everyone wanted to know what she knew. But guess what? Even she didn’t know how she achieved such success! When she first started the job, there were a series of trials and tribulations that she went through before things started to “click.” And guess what? The team discovered that nearly everyone was experiencing the same things that this top performer did!

Now of course I’m paraphrasing, a LOT. And likely leaving out much of this wonderful story. But I think I’ve shared enough for you to get the point. If we want to be top performers, or if we want a team of top performers, we’ve got to listen to those who’ve been there. There is nothing quite like a salesperson who’s been in the trenches. They are the perfect people to tell us: “I’ve been there too! Rejection is normal.”

Top Sellers Learn

The story I mentioned above resonated with me personally in many ways. When I started in sales, my boss at the time was an incredible teacher. He was also a top performer. And he was obsessed with figuring out this whole sales thing.

Storytelling was a huge part of my sales training, and I learned in leaps and bounds from his stories. Not just the success stories, but the failures too.

I remember a specific day where things were going all sorts of wrong. My prospecting visits weren’t going well, then a woman at one of the offices I was visiting told me to get lost and to not come back. I was floored! I called my boss with about as bad of an attitude as a person can have. “Well, I can never go back there again!” I told him. He said, “Oh, you’re going back!” He then proceeded to share some of his early failure stories with me and by the end of the conversation, I felt completely different. I realized that if someone as confident and successful as him went through such drama and came out the other side, so could I. That’s when everything changed for me. That’s the day I realized the power of storytelling and human connection.

Top Sellers Succeed  

“Everyone has something to teach, and something to learn.”

My guess is that you’d like to succeed. So, why not try storytelling on for size? I cannot even begin to express the breakthroughs you’ll discover when you switch your own experiences off for a few minutes to listen to your peers. If you’re a top performer, listen and share. If you’re an up-and-coming top performer, listen and share too. And don’t forget to include your stories in your Sales PlayBook!

Want some ideas on how to collaborate with your team better? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

eBook: How to Sell Anything to Anyone - A Problem-Solving Guide for Sales Managers, Sales Leaders, & Salespeople

By | 2017-10-05T09:31:30+00:00 October 5th, 2017|Sales Success|0 Comments

About the Author:

Rebecca Smith is the Director of Marketing at Criteria for Success. She writes about sales, sales leadership, social selling best practices, time management, and anything related to helping others discover success. Be sure to say hi on Twitter @RebeckerSmith.

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