I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
As a management consultant who engages with clients to design and execute growth strategies, I'm afforded the opportunity to interact with many sales professionals. Based on these connections, as well as a portfolio of successes built over 20 years, I believe that what differentiates top sales performers from the rest of the pack is their commitment to a set of principles that guide their selling behaviors. I'm not referring to a sales methodology; I'm referring to a compass that guides their actions. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> No one controls the future; however, we can control what guides our behaviors. I've collected a set of core principles I believe contribute to the success of top sales performers. To break it down to a fundamental level, I've configured a pyramid as the principles build upon each other. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> At the foundation of the pyramid are three principles. I selected the principles of <b>Value</b> and <b>Passion</b> as the cornerstones. These principles enable one to genuinely engage and interact with others. The principle of Value is a commitment to deliver value to others without consideration to what one may receive in return. I've found that what truly differentiates top performers is their willingness to help others and share knowledge. Top performers are students of their profession; they are relevant by sharing knowledge and best practices across multiple business scenarios. The other cornerstone of the pyramid is Passion, as it enables us to genuinely engage, impact, and influence others. Furthermore, top performers embrace passion as it's the fuel that pushes them to the next level of success. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> In between the two cornerstones is the principle, <b>Accountable.</b> I selected this principle as it complements Value and Passion. Top performers are accountable to themselves and others. They hold themselves accountable to expand their skills and their comfort zone. As important, they are accountable to their network; nurturing their relationships, making introductions of relevance, and creating opportunities that fuel their passion.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The next tier of the pyramid showcases two principles that relate to the manner in which top performers present themselves. The principles are <b>Unique</b> and <b>Confidence.</b> Top performers are not like everyone else; they are memorable. They are unique in their approach, their perspectives, and their ability to stand out from the competitive crowd. A key component to being unique is the ability of top performers to develop and evolve their personal brand. To assess how others may perceive your brand, ask yourself if you are referral worthy. In other words, how many of your contacts would recommend you? What words or characteristics would someone use to describe you? Top performers consistently assess their brand to ensure it aligns with their success path. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Resting on top of the pyramid is <b>Trust. </b>Top performers trust themselves, their decisions, and their relationships. They embrace failure as an opportunity to elevate performance. For those who trust themselves, there isn't a reliance on the behaviors, opinions, and thoughts of others. When there is a need to pull the trigger, top performers simply take action.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Our actions shape the future. The question becomes, "What is guiding <i>your</i> actions?" <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>Rick Wnuk is a management consultant and corporate speaker with a portfolio of successes leading clients through the successful design and execution of strategies to drive business performance in complex selling environments. He can be reached at 919.412.8922.</i>