This year has been anything but easy. Not only do sales tactics need to be reexamined, but the selling behaviors of every rep on the sales team deserve closer inspection. A deep understanding of selling behaviors both for teams and individuals has never been so important. 

In robust economies like we had in 2019, it’s easy to overlook some inefficiencies and allow certain areas in need of improvement to slide. Selling behaviors that were “nice to have” last year are now essential to the success of a sales organization as “unpredictable” becomes the norm of 2020.

The title of this post and image are deliberate. NASA has a reputation for assembling the very best team of astronauts for each mission and task (not to mention their mission control team, engineers, etc.). They train rigorously to meet peak performance levels. The stakes of their situation is certainly higher than any other — including sales — but it prompts the question: Do your sales reps possess and exhibit “the right stuff”?

3 Selling Behaviors Linked to Sales Success

In order to thrive in 2020’s tougher sales environment (and beyond), sales reps need a set of selling behaviors that are directly linked to sales success:

  1. High Achievement Drive
  2. Confidence
  3. Assertiveness

#1 High Achievement Drive

There are probably sales reps on your team who were able to meet sales quotas in 2019 – just by answering emails and calls. In other words, by taking orders. But 2020 is a different beast. 

To make up for lost sales in Q1 & Q2, reps need a fiercely high achievement drive and competitive nature. The reps who are most motivated by sales incentives and sales rankings will be more likely to thrive in today’s tougher selling environment. Those who lack the will to sell will not succeed in 2020.

#2 Confidence

Budgets are under greater scrutiny, which means customers are really doing their homework and coming to sales conversations with longer lists of questions, more in-depth competitor analysis, and likely a longer and more intense internal review process. 

Sales reps need to not only know why the company’s products outshine others in the industry; they also must be confident that the solution they are selling is the best solution for the customer. 

Customers are already more skittish about pulling the trigger on purchasing. Any doubt — in the product, or in the sales rep’s product knowledge or ability to deliver — could set a deal back. Confidence will be key to sales success for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

#3 Assertiveness

Too often taken for granted as an abstract sales development buzzword, it’s an incredibly valuable sales behavior, one that will help a sales organization get through difficult times – and some people just don’t have it.

Time can be wasted in a difficult sales environment by reps who aren’t comfortable asking prospects direct questions regarding their company’s strategy or needs, financial issues, or how budgets have shifted.

The Darkside to Assertiveness: “Pushy” 

Sales leaders need to know what traits a sales rep possesses, but also to what degree. For instance, assertiveness can be good. As we shared, you want reps on your 2020 sales team who are driven to succeed, confident, and assertive. But high levels of assertiveness (especially used at the wrong point of a conversation or relationship) can cross into “pushy.”

“Pushy” conjures up old stereotypes about sales reps who won’t stop calling – or get off your doorstep – until you buy something, anything from their bag of wares. 

It can mean that a sales rep doesn’t take time to truly understand a customer’s needs, or tries to close before the customer is ready. Reps who have these selling behaviors likely wouldn’t succeed during robust and stable economic times let alone now. 

Selling Behaviors: Which Sales Reps Have The Right Stuff (and Which Ones Don’t)?

If you’re not sure which behaviors your reps have mastered and apply, a sales assessment may be in order. Many sales organizations are feeling pressure from above to make staffing decisions. Now is the time to take inventory of your sales organization so sales leaders know which reps:

  • possess sales skills and behaviors that make them more likely to succeed in a difficult sales environment;
  • require an investment in sales development to address correctable sales skills deficits;
  • are just not cut out for selling during difficult times.

Gaining a better understanding of which reps on your team have the “right stuff” can put you in a better position to navigate the rest of 2020 — because who knows what this year will bring next.