StarQuest Group



What the Best Sales People Do!

After two decades of working with high performing salespeople, I’ve noticed that the best of the best have a formula that they consistently apply with relentless determination. The formula shows up in how they generate leads, segment their existing customer base, focus their time, and work their pipelines.  Let’s look at what the best of the best are doing…


1. They know their “ideal client”: It all starts with their customer. The best salespeople are very clear on whois their ideal client.  They regularly evaluate their existing customer base to identify customers who are profitable; customers who value their expertise and are willing to pay a premium for it; and customers who have similar problems. From this evaluation, they identify objective and subjective criteria. Objective criteria include size of company, industry, product lines, etc. Subjective criteria includes things such as whether they have a growth mindset, a people-oriented culture, have been awarded the best place to work, etc.  Once they have their ideal client profile identified, then they evaluate existing clients and prospects against that profile.  This planning activity helps them focus their limited time on the prospects and customers who will generate the greatest ROI.


2. They identify and manage opportunities: The best of the best also identify and manage opportunities exceptionally well.  They seek opportunities throughout the discovery process, and seek ways to help their clients solve problems, facilitate growth, and take advantage of opportunities. Once they identify the opportunity, they manage the opportunity by facilitating the decision making process step by step.


3. They manage customer interactions exceptionally well:  The best salespeople manage customer interactions by understanding of the customer’s business first, and then doing a comprehensive discovery process to identify what they’re trying to achieve and what obstacles stand in the way of their achievement. From this process, they craft solutions to target those obstacles and enable success. From this approach relationships are strengthened, and value is created.


If you’d like to share three best practices that have made a difference in your success, please post your comments. We’d love to hear from you.

Tom Athenour

Tom has been in the people development business for over 20 years, and has worked with a variety of organizations from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to co-founding StarQuest Group in 1998, he was vice president of marketing for International Learning Systems, Inc., an international performance development consulting firm that worked with Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Before entering the learning and development business, he was in the financial services industry and held leadership positions in marketing, operations and sales. He has worked for companies including Bank of America, California Bancshares, Inc. and Piper Jaffray. Tom currently serves on the board of directors for the Rocky Mountain HR People & Strategy Association (HRPS), and is a member of the Sales Management Association, and the Association for Talent Development. He also is a community leader for YoungLife. He holds an MBA from St. Mary's College of California, and BS in Marketing from the University of Santa Clara.

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