Difference between an average salesperson and a high-performing professional | Sunday Observer

Difference between an average salesperson and a high-performing professional

8 May, 2022

The difference between a high performing salesman and an average salesman is enormous.

While the average salesperson hits the given target, most of the time, the excellent performer is not only consistent but also hits blowout figures every now and then. Good salespeople earn respect, admiration, loyalty, and more importantly, referrals from almost every customer they come across.

In my long career in sales coaching, I have repeatedly told my trainees that they can build a lifelong sales pipeline for their careers and a strong power base for their personal lives.

A good salesperson becomes a lifetime acquaintance of the customer. They have more to offer than an exciting sales pitch. By studying and understanding customers’ general behaviour, and needs, the salesperson has more chances than anyone else to show empathy towards them. Hence, the customer can become a lasting friend and associate of the salesperson.

Therefore, if you pursue greatness in your selling career, follow the rules discussed here to become a top-selling professional in your team. 

The buyer persona is a detailed and specific description of the prospects representing your target audience. This is a crucial factor in the sales process. Before getting into the deep end, salesmen must deeply study the general behavioural patterns of the target group.

The salesperson must know his or her product extremely well, because selling skills win only half the battle. Understanding what you sell, the benefits it provides to the prospect in the short and long term, why the price paid for the product is justifiable, and, most importantly, where you stand in comparison to your competitors is critical.

The simple reason is that, in the selling process, you are invariably confronted by the prospects with a barrage of questions before buying. This is called “handling objections,” and it is one of the most vital steps in the sales process. Without objections, a sale does not take place. On the other hand, failing to manage objections will most likely cost you the sale. Hence, it is essential that the salesperson be exceptionally thorough in product knowledge.

Smart salesmen understand the buyer personas of their target clientele. Hence, they always find the best strategies and techniques to approach the prospects effectively. These shortcuts not only save valuable time, which is one of the most critical ingredients in the process, but also increase the hit rate. Good salespeople repeatedly use these unique tactics until these maneuvers stop producing results.

Most often, salespeople work against the clock, and they have no time to waste experimenting. These unique approaches mean that they have time to pursue more customers. This does not, however, imply that the salesperson must always use the same tactic, but must vary it depending on the selling situation.

In my previous articles, I have pointed out that inadequate listening can be fatal to the positive result of a sale. Let me tell you the other side of the coin. Good performers are completely engaged, in mind and body, whenever they talk to a prospect. While in conversation with a prospect, they would not allow their minds to wander. This makes a sales discussion more meaningful and deep, which any prospect would admire. 

Therefore, salespeople must realise that active listening is one of the most important tools in successful selling and yet the most difficult skills to develop.

Listening is a soft skill that has incredible value in the selling profession. Habitually, salesmen care more about what they have to say about the product they sell than they listen patiently to the prospect. Great salesmen develop listening skills for better performance.

Selling is perhaps one of the few professions that has no limit both in achievement and income. In my junior days, I was taught by my then superiors that more prospects meant more happiness for a salesperson.

Therefore, working hard without being complacent about past achievements is another strong characteristic of a successful salesman. Salesmen should be on standby mode 24x7x365. “More the merrier” must be the motto of salespeople.

There are several selling theories, such as the “need satisfaction,” “stimulus-response,” and “disequilibrium” method, that sales trainers teach their trainees. However, instead of hanging on to these laid-down models, I have always guided my sales team to avoid following a “one size fits all” mentality and instead personalise the presentation depending on the situation and the prospect’s individuality. High-performing salesmen always produce a tailor-made message to address the unique pain points of the prospect. 


Learning never stops. No matter how successful you are, there are others who are smarter than you, and there is always more to learn. Therefore, shadowing your peers within the team, time and again, gives you more insight into the target prospects.

Smart salespeople pair up with others who are during customer visits and learn a few tricks from them. It could also be fun and also strengthen relationships with your coworkers. 

Salesmen are customarily known to have friendly and suave qualities. Hence, early in their careers, they learn small talk to build up relationships with prospects. High-performing salespeople practise networking at a simple house party or at a highly professional conference with equal ease. They make other people feel at ease, genuinely. Practicing people skills at any time can produce amazing results.

The old adage “salesmen sell ice to Eskimos” is no longer valid. However, the negative perspective that salesmen can be perceptive operators is still looming around. That is one reason why, unlike in the past, salesmen should not be overly persistent in a sales situation. More importantly, they must know when to walk away.

Smart and performing salesmen never waste their time as well as the customers’. Therefore, it is extremely important to read the prospect’s reaction and buy or reject signals. Over talking or pushing the customer beyond the boiling point may produce lasting animosity. 

The salesperson’s honesty towards the customer, the product, and the company. Customers can see and feel the salesperson’s decency when a sales discussion takes place. Good salespeople never exaggerate or lie about a product feature or benefit. They never promise a feature that does not exist, a price they cannot deliver, or a service that cannot be given. When the salesperson is genuine, the relationship built can continue even if the sale does not happen.

High-performing salespeople are ego-driven. They understand that they will not be able to win every deal they come across. Rejection is hard for every person, whether they are in sales or not. However, both good and average salespeople confront rejections throughout their careers.


Therefore, withstanding the pressure of rejection positively and rolling with it to the next prospect is an integral part of the sales mentality. However, some salespeople leave the profession merely because they lack the courage to proceed further after losing a few sales opportunities. 

The customer is the most important person in your life who pays for your living. Hence, great salesmen believe that being a problem solver for the customer is as important as helping a close acquaintance. They do not oversell products or services.

A consultative selling approach allows the salesperson to be honest with the customer, and it builds strong and lasting relationships. Customers treat a salesman as an expert on the subject and expect him to advise honestly. By being open and honest with the customer, a good salesman derives amazing results, not only through a completed sale but also through renewals, repeat sales, and referrals.

Finally, selling is using common sense at the right time. There is no specific, clear-cut method to being a good salesman. Sales success depends on many factors, such as personal traits, selling skills and other soft skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, and many more. When someone has a passion, a genuine interest in working with people, and self-determination, they become high performing professionals.