I am often asked about the attributes that comprise the top sale professional. Here is one that I believe is vital to consistent sales success: The best salespeople I know are continuously strategizing about the opportunities they’re pursuing. They are thinking 24/7 of new ways that they can help their customers make an informed purchase decision. They know they can’t afford to mentally “lock away” their prospects when they leave work at the end of the day.

The most successful salespeople I have worked with possess a complete command of all the details of every sales opportunity they currently are working on. They let them continuously tumble around in the back of their minds, ruminating about possible winning strategies and tactics. They don’t have an “off” switch.

The process of selling to your prospect invariably changes their requirements and decision criteria moving forward. The very process of discovery, of helping the prospect define their requirements, and providing the data and information in response to their questions, forces them to re-assess their needs and what the criteria will be that they use in evaluating sellers and making an informed purchase decision.

Salespeople who sell from 9 to 5 and mentally lock away their customers at the end of the business day invariably fail to take notice of these changes. They choose to believe that sales and buying cycles are static processes that proceed in a linear fashion from Point A to Point B and they lose out to the salespeople that recognize the vagaries and flexibility of those cycles.

A client of mine had a salesperson named Ty. Ty was a veteran salesman and typically developed a good rapport with his customers. But he didn’t store any of the details of his sales opportunities in his head. He was an avid user of the company’s CRM system though, into which he entered every bit of data he needed about his customers. But, because he knew that all his customer information was available from the CRM system it disappeared from his mind the moment he hit the Enter key. Poof! When asked by his manager to do a review of his sales opportunities at a sales meeting, Ty couldn’t recall details about his accounts without referring to the CRM system. And he wondered why he was always in reactive mode with his prospects and customers. Ty thought sales was an open-book test. Unfortunately sales, and life, don’t work that way.

It is a temptation for today’s sales professional, with all the technology they have at their fingertips to assume that they can always stay on top of the deals they are working by referring back to the data in their CRM system or their notes. But what sets the great salespeople apart are that they are always working their deals, constantly thinking of new ways to provide value to their prospects in order to win more orders in less time.

Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales. A frequent speaker, Andy conducts workshops and consults with B2B sales teams of all sizes and shapes to teach them how to sell more by selling faster. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, “The Speed of Selling.” Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our blog!

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