The Traits and Habits of Successful Business Development Pros

Having worked with hundreds of business development professionals, I’ve noticed that those who generate the lion’s share of revenues share certain habits and traits. The top sales people:

  • Are Not Too Extraverted or Introverted Contrary to popular opinion, the extroverted, talkative business development rep does not always rise to the top. Instead, according to a study published in Psychological Science, it’s the ambiverts— those who cluster in the middle of the introvert to extrovert spectrum — who close the most sales. They are comfortable enough with other people to engage with them but do not feel the need to dominate conversations. Because they are curious about others, they naturally ask questions and listen to the answers.
  • Are Judicious with Their Time While it’s evident in sales that the more you do, the more you achieve, being busy does not equate to being efficient. Reps must use their time to do the right things. Here’s what the best salespeople do to make sure they use their time wisely.

    They start to qualify their leads immediately by asking the right questions—those that help determine whether they can help their prospects and they have the authority and budget to make a purchase. Because it helps them to map out the sales process and to customize the solution they offer, superstar reps are particularly interested in the prospect’s needs and decision-making process.

    Also, they use technology wherever possible to save time and increase their effectiveness. This includes CRM, email, and social platforms such as LinkedIn, which enable them to reach out and engage with potential buyers.

    CSO Insights reports that only 33% of inside sales rep’s time is spent actively selling. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider the number of tasks competing for their attention. They range from admin work to sales emails and phone calls. The revenue generators understand the importance of prioritizing their to-do lists. While sales people can tackle prioritization manually, technology can help here too. A study determined that sales reps using prioritization technology averaged 88% more talk time and improved sales conversion rates by 178%.

  • Conquer with Empathy

    According to research by David Mayer and Herbert Greenberg, while sales people need to have an ego that drives them forward to win the deal and the acclaim that goes with it, they also must be empathetic. That means they need to have the ability to understand the prospect’s problems and what they want to achieve. At the same time, they keep their goal in mind: to close sales. With this synergistic approach, they can negotiate more win-win sales.

  • Keep an Eye on the Future
    We tend to think of salespeople as being focused on the sale they are going to close today. Many of them do just that. But those that excel look to the future. They know the power of the sales pipeline. It starts with making new connections and building relationships, continues with nurturing them, and one day, those that are qualified and treated right during the buying cycle will turn into sales.
  • Understand the Value of Persistence

    According to studies, 44 % of salespeople follow up once on a lead. Then they give up. That’s despite evidence that shows 80% of sales occur after five follow-ups. Whether following ups by phone or email, persistence pays off. The best business development reps stay in touch with leads that are not ready to buy yet knowing that someday some of them will become customers.

If you want to maximize your revenues, look for business development reps who are ambiverts, use their time well, balance their need to achieve with empathy for customers, don’t sacrifice tomorrow in a scramble for today’s sale, and persist until they get the job done.