10 years ago
January 5, 2015

What It Takes To Be A Top Sales Rep

Every sales rep starts his or her career at the bottom and must work to become a top sales rep.

Rhys Metler

top sales repIt is often said that top sales reps are naturally endowed with the skills that make them successful, but most top sales reps would tend to disagree. Although many come to a sales career with outgoing personalities and strong communication skills, not all top sales reps started out that way. Every sales rep starts his or her career at the bottom and must work to become a top sales rep, and there are three areas in which all sales reps with a desire to succeed work on improving. Mastery of these areas more than any other is what it takes to become a top sales rep.

Set Goals for Your Own Success

Mediocre sales reps tend to set their success by whether or not they are making quota. A top sales rep views monthly and quarterly quotas as the baseline, and this allows him or her to consistently surpass those quotas and build their sales career. Along with a consistently positive attitude and a willingness to be personally accountable for results, goal setting is one of the key attributes that sets a top sales rep apart from the pack. Sales quotas are not the only type of goals that these sales eagles set for themselves, either; other types of goals for which a top sales rep should be reaching include:

  • Setting new records for prospect meetings.
  • Breaking the typical 1:3 lead to closing ratio.
  • Driving renewal sales higher while cultivating new clients.
  • Defining other long term goals for sales and career advancement.

Measure Your Success by That of Others – But Don’t Undercut Your Peers

Top sales reps’ numbers consistently place them within the top 10% of sales reps within an organization, so by nature the designation of top sales reps depends on how well other sales reps are doing in any given period. A sales rep that undercuts his or her peers to get ahead or has a generally negative attitude won’t reach that goal marker, though. Although selling is viewed as an independent activity, top sales reps consistently do better by combining efforts with other individuals in their organization. Three rules that a top sales rep always follows are:

  • Never edge into a coworker’s territory without discussing it first.
  • Don’t denigrate what might be a great accomplishment for another sales rep.
  • Share in success, and work together to overcome failure.

Sales people who are consistently negative towards others and their contributions can’t expect to draw on help when they need it. On the other hand, top sales reps who are happy to contribute to the success of others can marshal this type of support, and even earn referrals from peers. This allows them to stay on top, while helping others aim higher.

Treat Customers’ Needs as Your Own

Being a top sales rep is a balancing act, because a sales rep has to take into account what the customer wants, what his or her company would like to see, and what he or she as a sales rep needs out of a deal. However, the moment that a customer feels that the needs of other parties are being put ahead of their company’s needs, their company is likely to drop out of the sales process. A top sales rep recognizes this, and utilizes well honed communication skills to make the customer feel that their company’s needs are the foremost consideration, even while maintaining perfect honesty. This is one of the most difficult aspects of selling, but also one of the most important. Your sales career and position as a top sales rep rely on cultivating the skills necessary to master this balancing act.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.