| Estimated reading time: 12 minutes | 9 Comments

Less Obvious Habits of a Successful Salesperson

After you’ve built your lead list, you’ll find plenty of advice out there on best practices you should follow in order to be a successful salesperson. These include habits such as focusing on the highest priority deals, conversational mirroring, using the neighborhood technique, spending a majority of their time on revenue generating activities, and educating buyers on their value prop.

But there are also a lot of little things we’ve noticed that the aces do that often don’t get talked about…at least in fluffy blog advice world 🙂

This post is reveals some of the lesser discussed practices we’ve seen some of the most successful salespeople we know use all the time.

Verbalizing People’s First Name

People love hearing their name and it also commands attention. A successful salesperson understands this and have built the habit of verbalizing people’s first name, not just when they meet them or said goodbye, but throughout a conversation.

Compare the following two statements:

“You should really think about integrating Salesforce with Slack.”

“You know, Scott, (slight pause) you should really think about integrating Salesforce with Slack.”

This is a subtle nuance but, when executed correctly, it can vastly enhance the attentiveness of the person on the other side of the conversation.

Escalating Communication Mediums to Increase Intimacy

Some of the best sellers I know are able to develop key relationships they want to build very quickly.

One way to enhance this is by channeling communication to more intimate mediums quickly, such as messaging.

Who do you typically send text, Slack, or even Facebook messages with?

Usually people you’re close with.

A successful salesperson understands this and intentionally tries to move the conversation to real-time messaging as soon as appropriate, often citing a practical reason so they don’t seem like a weirdo.

“Hey, what’s your cell? It might be easier to sync there in case something comes up and I’m running late to our meeting.”

Conversing on these type of mediums inserts you into another bucket beyond “another salesperson emailing me.”

successful salesperson

Moving the conversation to SMS can also increase the responsiveness when communicating to get something done…less noisy than the inbox.

Nurture High Aptitude Talent (From Inside & Outside Your Company)

You’re only as strong as the people on your team. This is true whether you’re a founder, a manager, and even ran individual contributors.

Great people understand this and make a pointed effort to invest in building relationships with high aptitude individuals who might someday make a great team member.

I know a founder who is absolutely killing it. I just heard how he took one of his young sales studs under his wing to extreme levels, like letting him crash at his apartment many nights and helping him physically and financially move into the city. I know his pupil and the resultant loyalty he has for these acts is insane.

Another guy I know made an effort to grab lunch with someone young starting off his career once a quarter to give advice. When it came time for him to find his next job, he chose his mentor’s company even though it offered him a significantly lower comp package than his other offers.

Finding exceptional talent isn’t easy, and people want to kill for people that invest in their personal and professional well-being. Period.

Be More Than Your Job, Publicly.

My buddy Max Altschuler recently published a post called “Hacking Sales, and Then What” about things he cares about outside of his professional ambitions.

The reason I discovered it was because I saw multiple mutual friends who are sales leaders share it on Facebook, commenting how much they enjoyed reading it. I am certain they feel closer to Max after reading about it. I know I do.

Our ability to develop empathy for others is often a function of whether we can understand someone.

It’s my experience that letting people know a bit more about who you are in a world that can at times feel transactional with the litany of professional “help swaps” stands out and creates much more good than harm.

Become an Excellent Writer…Dare I Say Copywriter

In modern sales orgs, email is often your most frequent method of communication…so you better know how to write!

Many organizations are starting to become increasingly aware of this. One friend who is a sales manager at a top-growth SaaS company says he asks job candidates to write sample emails so he can gauge their writing ability.

I’ll take this a step further by saying it’s important for people to understand fundamental copywriting best practices like readability.

Email has become so important and overwhelming that being strategic about components like structure and readability can make an enormous difference.

Compare the two meeting proposals below and tell me which one is more likely to get a positive response from a prospect:

V1:

Sounds good. How about we connect for a call next Tuesday afternoon at 2, 3, or 4. I can also chat on Wednesday after 11am and on Thursday most of the afternoon. Let me know what works for you.

V2:

Sounds good.Throwing out a few times:

  • 4/7 – Tuesday: 2-
  • 4/8 – Weds after 11am
  • 4/10 – Thursday after 1pm besides 3-3:0

Let me know if there is something more convenient for you.

Is V1 or V2 easier to digest and visualize?

Clearly the second one!

Anytime you can reduce the friction to something, you’re going to have a higher likelihood of success.

Want to become a better copywriter? Get free access to our favorite copywriting book Breakthrough Advertising by clicking below:

Get Your Free Copy Of Breakthrough Advertising Now

Work a Passive Engagement Funnel

Speaking of writing, polished modern sellers understand that they can leverage publishing as a way to stay top of mind to people they are selling to.

When I say publishing, I’m not exclusively talking about writing. This can mean tweeting and even more social media interactions like Instagram and Snapchat.

The idea is to try and establish a two-way relationship on any of these mediums (i.e. friend, follow, etc) and share content that might incite your desired action.

Did you say just say Snapchat?

Successful Salesperson

**Let me just caveat that everything you do should be calibrated with your demographic and relationship, which requires a high EQ.

I know the president of a massive company that believes becoming Snapchat friends with prospects then bonding over shared experiences has helped him close deals. Believe it or not, people you’re selling to actually like to have fun and go on social media as well.

One way to think about it is that anytime you publish, you’re giving people the opportunity to raise their hand.

This can be anything from a comment to someone liking something you published which might serve as a conduit for you to re-establish contact with that person.

If you’re a founder you should be thinking about leveraging this for recruiting and fundraising as well.

Always Be Able to Answer This Question

“So how could [I, we, Company X] help you out?”

It’s commonplace for people to ask this when you meet them.

Many people haphazardly answer this question with the first thing that comes to mind that day, instead of really thinking about it and even tailoring their response to the person they are speaking to and the circumstance they are in .

Know your wish list upfront before meeting with anyone important and don’t be afraid to ask for something you think can move the needle.

Get in the Habit of Creating & Seeking Callback Humor

When you’re starting to pursue a relationship with a potential buyer or partner, you want there to be additional reasons to reach out to than you just trying to push your goods.

Cultivating callback humor is an excellent way for a successful salesperson to create this thread. The idea is to find something funny or unique that you bonded over in a conversation and use that as an anchor in your communication.

A recent example of this occurred when we were on the West Coast and everyone was drinking La Croix like it was going out of style.

I’d never had or even seen this drink before in New York, but after my maiden pampelmousse I knew what all the fuss was about. Our mutual appreciation led to some good banter around the bubbly water gods sick joke of depriving us East Coasters of their sweetest nectar.

Two days later I stumbled upon it in my grocery store for the first time ever. I picked some up, took a photo, and sent it to my new contact alluding to my arduous search for La Croix or vacation in a can as he deemed it.

Successful Salesperson

A lot of times developing a callback humor event happens naturally, but it can be engineered when you drive conversation towards funny situational circumstances.

For more reading on Callback Humor here is how you can employ it for conference networking.

Make It Easy to See Your Goal

One of the reasons we’re building Troops is to make it easier for salespeople to stay on top of all the things they need to do to be successful. This can be hard given how easy it is to be reactive in today’s connected world.

A successful salesperson understands the importance of clear focus and makes it easy to see their target every single day.

We do this in Slack using an IFTTT recipe which sends out our goal every single morning right around the time we get into the office.

Successful Salesperson

The beauty of Slack is that it works great on mobile making it easy to stay focused whether you’re in the office or traveling. You can get this exact IFTTT recipe here.

Automate The Process Of Focusing On The Low Hanging Fruit

The easiest way to give some attention is to look at it everyday…kind of like the reminder example displayed above.

At Troops, we use the Troops’ Slackbot to automatically send out our pipeline in a private slack message of all my deals closing in the next 60 days.

I love that it’s pushed at me automatically right around the time I get into the office because it makes it really easy to pay attention to exactly what I should be focused on. Otherwise I’d have to remember to do it…and well, I think we all know how reliable that strategy can be.

Want access to Troops’ bot for things like scheduling pipeline reports in Slack?

Sign up for our beta below:

Successful Salesperson

BTW you can also take advantage of our gmail integration to append things to your report like when the last time you contacted someone was. This is great for establishing outreach cadence.

Develop Acuity around Leveraging Events

Some of the most successful salespeople I’ve encountered are masters of understanding how to architect leverage for themselves around compelling events to rapidly accelerate timelines for closing deals.

Some obvious ways to do this are working against key timelines you’re aware of. For example, if you’re launching something new, you can constrain access to early movers. Or, if there is an impending press event, you can dangle it as a reason to accelerate process – more tactics here.

A tactic I see less often is creating leverage based on what other people in the ecosystem are doing and what that means for stakeholders you’re focused on.

An example might be if one of the players formalizes a relationship (maybe not even with you), using that to your advantage to compel action amongst all the other players. A lot of times this dynamic occurs when the other players aren’t necessarily aware of that activity. Making them aware can create opportunities for you.

Great questions to ask yourself when meaningful activity occurs in a space where you’re trying to get deals done are:

  • What does that mean for everyone else in their ecosystem?
  • Does everyone know this occurred?
  • Does that mean someone else has less of a chance to succeed?
  • Can you highlight that vantage point in an elegant way?

An excellent way to understand these dynamics is to physically draw out a map of each player, what they care about, and how you can create an emotional response from what’s happening in the market.

Laughing As a Default for Emotional Mastery

Being a successful salesperson is tough. You get told no often and end up kissing a lot of frogs.

Successful Salesperson

Some people can’t handle the stress and their performance suffers, while others take these ups and downs in stride, with style and grace.

Their secret? Seeking learning and humor in these moments.

As Og Mandino writes in his book The Greatest Salesman in the World:

“We are masters over our emotions. Although we daily pass through different moods, each of us has the power to control them; to “create our own weather.” If we bring joy and enthusiasm and brightness to all that we do, others will react in a similar manner. “Strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.” No matter how we feel when we arise in the morning, we can sing or laugh and make ourselves feel better. No matter what other people do or how they react, we can decide to be positive and understanding.”

” … Cultivate the habit of laughter.” Man is the only creature who can laugh, and the best thing to laugh at is ourselves. Whenever things seem too serious or dismal, repeat the word, “This too shall pass, ” and all troublesome thoughts will seem lighter. Laughers puts events – successes as well as failures – into perspective. Only with laughter and gratitude can we enjoy the fruits of prosperity.

Easier said than done during in moments of trial!

Next time try belly laughing and feeling stressed out at the same time…it’s pretty tough.

These are just a few practices we’ve noticed at Troops that a successful salesperson often employs in order to be their best. Now that you’ve seen these, why not check out some common sales communication mistakes and to how to avoid them?

What unique habits and strategies of successful salespeople stand out to you? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Well-written post! Particularly about using people’s names more frequently as well as the importance of emails optimized for readability

    • Thanks man! We appreciate your support. Readability IMO is just as important as the content itself in many circumstances

  • Every point is spot on. Great read!

  • Josh Isaak

    Sick post, Scott.

    • Thanks brotha man. What’s way more sick is that giant catch you reeled in I see in that photo of yours ; )

      • Josh Isaak

        When you get over to Van, I’ll take you to the mother load… it is FUN!! 😉

  • Thanks Scott. I appreciated this.