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How to be Successful in Sales in 2021

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Aug 05, 2021

Here at Anthony Cole Training Group, we are always striving towards helping our clients achieve sales success. We interviewed our Sales Development Experts for a curated list of how to be successful in sales for 2021. Their advice includes successful sales traits, habits, and characteristics. Use this detailed resource to your advantage, and boost your sales success in 2021!

How to Be Successful in Sales

Salespeople are measured against one thing and one thing only; closing deals.  However, salespeople know that there's so much more to getting results than picking up the phone and calling.  It takes a combination of attitude, work ethic, and personality to be a good sales person.  It's not easy being a salesperson, but if you can possess some of these traits and habits, you're on your way to becoming a more successful salesperson.

Successful Sales Traits

trait: a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person.

  1. Commitment
    Oftentimes, one of the reasons salespeople struggle to see great sales success is because they aren’t as committed as they need to be. Be willing to try and do whatever it takes, even when you are uncomfortable.
  2. Have an attitude of success
    Selling can feel like a solitary pursuit and you need to believe you will get there. Half the battle of success in sales is owning your own style and having faith in your skills, knowledge, and abilities. If you believe you will win, your likelihood of winning increases substantially.
  3. Do the work
    Selling is hard work and cannot all be done sitting at a computer. Get out and meet with current clients to leverage the relationship and ask for introductions. Also, attend networking events to meet different experts in your or target industries.
  4. Have a sense of urgency
    Send the follow-up email the first time you think of it. Make the return phone call when you first get the message. Work when your competition isn’t.
  5. Stick to the schedule
    Different things can get in your way daily- emails, internal meetings, proposals, etc. Highly successful salespeople build and stick to a time-blocking schedule religiously. Identify what your key activities are when the best time is to do these activities and build a schedule you can live by.
  6. Never Answer the Unasked Question
    One of the key sales characteristics that elite producers have is the ability to only answer the question in front of them. Salespeople will often get ahead of themselves, fall into pitch mode, and divulge too much information too quickly.
    For example, when a prospect asks “how big is your company?” they usually aren’t concerned with how many employees there are or how many locations you have. They are trying to identify if you have the bandwidth, expertise, and/or time to work with them. The key is to slow down, take a breath, and ask for clarification before answering.

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Successful Sales Habits

habit: a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior

  1. Stop worrying about selling and focus on helping
    Stop offering to come by and visit the prospect and instead ask “would you find it helpful if….”  Ask prospects what you can do to help them without regard for whether or not there is a sale involved. It is why the 3-step inoffensive close ends with:  Do you think I understand your problem? Do you think my firm can help you solve your problem? Do you want my help?
  2. Every exit is an entry somewhere else
    Don’t give up or be let down just because someone said no – maybe they can help you with a referral or you’ll land a client with that next phone call or meeting after the discouragement.
  3. Have a sales goal that you are committed to reaching
    Most salespeople focus on just hitting their year-end goal, not exceeding it. When you strive towards an extraordinary goal (roughly 20% above your year-end goal), and that’s your only focus, even if you don’t hit it, you will likely meet or exceed your company goal.
  4. Be OK with “no”
    It frees up the conversation and lowers the walls of resistance when the prospect knows that it is OK for them to say “no.”  There are three different parts in the sales process where the salesperson should be letting the prospect know it is OK to say “no”: (1) on the phone setting up the first appointment, (2) at the last meeting before the proposal is delivered and then finally (3) at the meeting where the proposal will be shared.
  5. Be a giver
    Support your internal partners as they prepare for conversations and presentations. Make sure that your ‘selling’ is all about asking great questions and listening to understand so that you can help your clients grow (vs sell them something).
  6. Build a rapport
    To many, bonding and rapport means liking the same sports team, enjoying the same weekend activity, or frequenting the same restaurant as a prospect. To us, bonding and rapport means proving you deserve a seat at the table. Your proven benefit and value are more critical to developing trust and relationships than similar taste in food. Ask your prospect what the key challenges for their business and industry are for the year or what is in the way of their growth.
  7. Utilize social networks
    LinkedIn can be your best fishing net and your best safety net. Use social networking sites like LinkedIn to make connections and develop relationships, as well as explore new opportunities.
  8. Develop yourself as an industry expert
    Continue to educate yourself on new trends, the changes in your market, and developing different techniques. This will help you stay relevant in your space and position yourself as a leading professional.
  9. Celebrate the successes
    It’s difficult to win these days so don’t forget to enjoy those moments- no matter how big or small. Every sale gets you one step close to hitting your personal and professional goals.

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Successful Sales Characteristics

characteristic: a feature or quality belonging typically to a person

  1. Persistence
    Stay with it whether it is making calls, following up, or following through. What we know is 80% of sales are made between the 5-12 outreach to a prospect so persistence to win business is crucial.
  2. Be coachable
    In other words, be willing to admit there is a lot that you don’t know and always ask for help.
  3. Be resilient  
    Don’t let prospects squash you with think it overs, stalls, objections, and “no’s”. There is always another door to try- it’s just about asking the right questions of the right person at the right time.
  4. Don’t get in your own way
    Eliminate roadblocks and excuses from your headspace. Don’t let the anxiety of being turned away keep you from picking up the phone. Don’t allow internal “noise” interrupt what you get paid to do- which is hunt, qualify and close business.
  5. Don’t get happy ears
    Don’t let soft buying signals like “This looks great. It makes a lot of sense. I’m interested” rush your process. Keep a level head and really drill down with your qualifying questions to identify if a prospect is really interested or just blowing smoke.
  6. Be unique
    Those that don’t look, sound, or act like the other salespeople in the marketplace have greater overall sales success. Follow the sales process, remain professional, but don’t be afraid to be yourself. The “human element” is what makes a difference in closing more business.

We hope this helps you achieve greater sales success in this coming year! Successful selling in 2021 from your friends and partners at Anthony Cole Training Group.  Call us if you need help!

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Topics: key to sales success, sales success, successful sales habits, successful sales traits, successful sales characteristics


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    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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