7 Habits of Highly Effective Sales Executives Backed by Science

Effective Sales Executives

A recent Hubspot survey confirms that only 3% of people buyers trust sales representatives. Sales is one of the toughest jobs in the corporate world. It doesn’t get any easier with the rising competition, low barriers for new businesses and technology disruptions. But sales executives that learn how to sail through the initial hurdles and get the prospects to open up are copiously rewarded. The best sales executives learn to prepare well, understand customer’s motivations and use every tool in their arsenal to close the deal. Selling requires creativity, connection and delivering on your promises.

The highly effective sales executives learn the art of human psychology. They are driven by an open minded approach that maximises their probability of success and serves their customers too. Here’s a look at the habits of highly effective sales executives backed by scientific studies. 

1. Prospecting
Habits of highly effective sales executives
Do you know which is the hardest part of the sales process? It’s not closing the deals. According to 40% of salespeople, prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).

What makes elite performers in any field standout? Well, it is often the steps that they use to prepare, organise and perform. Sales is no different. Great sales executives spend time meticulously to prospect the right prospects.

These executives use data driven strategies to refine their target customer profiles. They zone into the right companies, identify decision makers, assess organisational needs, pain points and educate themselves about their prospects.

The best sales executives come across as genuine folks who want to help. When prospects are well researched and carefully vetted, it increases probability of sales and conversions. Sales executives who understand prospecting can zone into the right customers by size, location, revenue, needs etc. & increase their odds by several notches.

2. Sales Channels & Technologies

The average customer is paranoid of sales calls. There are way too many calls, emails and people trying to woo the customers into selling their products & services. A study showed that on an average, it takes 18 calls to connect with the buyer. Sales is hard, especially if you’re using outdated channels and technologies.

Sales persons who achieve their revenue targets and expectations know the state of the art. They know which channels, methods and strategies will be effective in connecting with their customers. Sales requires diligently understanding your customers and where they hangout.
In the virtual world, using the right channels and networks can make a big difference to the results. So, for e.g. if your customers are into social media, how you engage and interact with them can create qualitative leads for your business.

In a recent study by Hubspot, 63% of sales leaders believe that virtual meetings are just as or more effective than in-person meetings. The top sales leaders are always sharp enough to pick up the right channels for customer acquisition and proactive in getting the results they want.

3. Belief in Product or Service

Effective Sales Executives
The best sales reps believe in what they are doing. They are convinced about the merits of their products or services they sell. It is this strong belief and conviction that makes customers trust them. The trust factor eventually leads to a sale.

The best sales executives are prepared with the questions on the markets, competitors, value of their offerings and deeply understand customer pain points. It is a combination of these things that makes them connect with their customers. They can show the value of how the product or service will address the customer needs and serve them.

The sales representatives who excel not only sell, but ensure that customers are satisfied with after sales service too. It is the ability to serve, service, and take care of the customers that helps them achieve their targets.

4. Networks

One of the top sources of leads for sales executives is their networks. A top sales person develops and builds networks that create synergy effects for them. For e.g. an enterprise software sales person who has a good network of hardware sales guys can build a win win partnership. The hardware sales person can always pass leads to the software sales person and vice versa.

The best sales executives actively tap into the power of their networks. They contribute, help and seek win-win opportunities among their peers. The diverse networks act as a very good source of qualified leads. When leads come from referral sources, they are often driven by the client’s immediate needs. It leads to a higher probability of closed deals.

The sales executives who build networks actively tapping into events, same interest groups and virtual channels are equipped with better sales opportunities. The power and reach of networks has a direct impact on the results of sales executives. 

5. Relationship Building 

Effective Sales Executives
Good relationships are one of the best investments for a sales person. The best sales executives build and nurture relationships with clients. They act as trusted counsels not just sales reps. The clients know that they can rely on these sales executives for important inputs and advice. 

When sales reps develop good relationships with others, it shows in their performance too. About 47% of top performers ask for referrals consistently, versus only 26% of non-top performers. The referrals from customers have over 90% chances of closing. It increases the chances of sales and conversions due to the right timing.    

6. Organised Workflow for Results

The amount of time it takes to prospect, call, email, line-up appointments and present your solutions to customers has a direct bearing on the results. The best sales reps are extremely well organised, use the right technologies and channels to make productive use of their time.


Studies have shown that sales executives that listen to client needs, provide relevant and useful information and respond timely to customers have better opportunities of closing deals. When reps use the best tools available for organising their work, it gives them time to spend more time on adding value for clients. It helps them improve their winning ratio and work smarter.

7. Don’t Take No

One of the studies revealed, 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. But 48% of salespeople never even make a single follow up attempt. It takes persistence and several follow-ups for selling. 

While the average sales executives stop after one or two calls, the best ones know it takes more than five calls to close a deal. They know that the probability works out in their favour when they are persistent and add value with every client interaction. 

The most resourceful sales reps find a way for the client to say yes. They present things from different perspectives, tap into different channels, decision makers and do whatever is needed for the client to say yes. They follow up as many times as it takes to convince the clients to buy from them. When the deal is on the line, they never take no for an answer.



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