A Simple Formula for Exceptional Selling
I have always been fascinated by what makes great people great. Why do some people, even when given everything, seem to make nothing from it, and vice versa?
This polarity of performance is very apparent in recruitment and sales roles. Having run many training courses over the years, it is clear that people with seemingly the same skill set and opportunity can produce vastly different results.
One of the best examples to illustrate this was relayed to me by one of my recruitment clients. He recalled a time when there were two consultants in his company who had both been on the same training courses, both worked the same sector and they even sat next to each other. Amazingly, a couple of years in and one was billing £465k whilst the other was billing only £45k. Of course, it wasn’t long before the latter individual had left the business, but what made the difference?
Million Pound Billers
Whenever I meet with a client and they tell me that they have a million pound biller in their team I always ask to chat with them. And the first question I always ask them is ‘Why are you so much better than everyone else?’
Often, they struggle to explain the difference clearly. They say things like ‘I just get on the phone’ or ‘I always get in early’ or ‘If something doesn’t go my way and I start feeling bad I snap myself out of it’. They never have an elegant one liner that sums it up. But, what is actually behind their ‘exceptional’ performance?
Firstly, I should explain why I deliberately put the word ‘exceptional’ into inverted commas. The reason for this is that I don’t believe that anyone is truly exceptional in the way that the majority would believe. Million pound billers still get bad news, have a drink the night before and feel tired. Very rarely is anything they say perfect. They are not exceptional in their abilities, but they do deliver performance that is seen as exceptional by those around them.
In my opinion anyone can achieve an exceptional level of performance if they deliver on the following formula:
(RM + EC + BP) x MOTT
So what does this all mean?
RM is for Resourceful Mindset
Exceptional recruiters and salespeople will put themselves in a resourceful mindset. They will be confident, focused and driven, open to opportunities and ready to take on the challenges ahead of them. They will put themselves in a mental state that will allow them to deliver their best, free from most of the mental nonsense that can hold many consultants back. Most industry leaders agree that n individual’s mindset is the key determinate of their success.
EC is for Effective Communication
In addition to having a resourceful mindset, ‘exceptional’ recruiters and salespeople are also effective communicators. This means they not only talk clearly and concisely and leave voicemails that get people to call them back, but it also means that they can handle objections, ask intelligent questions, pitch persuasively and close effortlessly.
Effective communication is about tone, pace, inflection and timing. It is about being in full control of your language so you can dynamically decide what you want to say from moment to moment and then deliver this in the right way so it conveys credibility and fully engages the person you are talking with.
Note: the above comments can just as easily apply to emails.
BP is for Best Practice
The third area where an ‘exceptional’ performer will be strong is that they will generally work in a structured way that ensures they are maximising their opportunities. There are certain practices and ways of structuring what you do that drives good performance in almost any company or sector.
For example, on our recruitment consultant training courses we teach a very simple planning process that gets consultants to forward plan their next day. If you had a hundred consultants that did this and another hundred that approached their day in a less organised way, it’s clear that the first group would outperform the second.
We also teach most recruitment consultants to start each day with a phone call. Recruitment is sales and there is nothing better than a phone call to get your sales metabolism up and running. If you consistently start your day with a phone call rather than delaying, you will be more successful, period. It is simple best practice like this that will often form the backbone of the success for most ‘exceptional’ recruiters and salespeople.
MOTT is for Most of the time
The last piece of the formula is that ‘exceptional’ recruiters and salespeople will do all of these things most of the time. All the time would be impossible, but we can all do all of them most of the time. And, that is the point; to be seen as ‘exceptional’, to deliver a performance that is miles above average, you don’t need to be perfect all the time. You just need to do most of the things well, most of the time.
Train the Formula
As you may have realised, I don’t buy into the commonly held belief that you’ve either got it or you haven’t. I believe that it is possible to train the formula and therefore that anyone can work towards ‘exceptional’. They’ve just got to want it enough and it is generally then a matter of time.