How to Ensure Your Clients see You as an Elite Performer

Posted by in Books, How the Top 10% Do It!, Up-Level Your Selling Skill

When you walk out of a prospect or client’s door, they will automatically categorize you as an A, B, or C-salesperson. They might not use this description to your face, but they will have made a subjective assessment, they could even be thinking she’s a buffoon, or well, that guy knows his stuff. You either wasted their time or provided them value. Here are the 5 key components of being an A-level performer to your clients.

The first attribute is imperative before you can move on to the next steps; you need to have knowledge of the client as well as knowledge of the industry. Is the industry waxing or waning? Is this a growing industry, or is it stalled or starting to diminish? Is this a company that will soon be manufacturing offshore? If not, how will they attract quality people to sustain customer demands? When you ask meaningful questions, it means that you’ve done your research. You show up, sit in front of your client, and ask quality questions instead of low-level questions such as, “Oh, is this picture of your children?” or, “Do you play hockey?”

Question mark shape with blue background

The second attribute is asking quality questions and not irrelevant, personal ones. Possessing the ability to ask quality questions and discuss their real business issues will inspire your audience to want to see you again. Clients will then feel good about you. Otherwise, they will more than likely be looking at their watch thinking here’s your hat what’s your hurry? Because they can’t say that to your face they give you a punishment proposal. If you do not have a list of quality questions to ask, you will inadvertently show up and throw up. Having a deep knowledge of your client, your client’s industry, and what they need, and asking quality questions based on this knowledge, is the opposite of showing up and throwing up.

Asking quality questions is vitally important. However, when you ask clients questions and they disclose a problem, and you jump in and solve it immediately, what you’re saying is that they are not as smart as you are! It is as if you are saying:

“I just showed up in your office right now, and I figured out the answer to your problem instantly whereas you have had this problem for months and I solved it right away, see how much smarter I am than you?”

Instead, it’s better to ask the client to tell you more and explain the problem—what they have tried, what they haven’t tried, what worked for them, what didn’t work, and so on.

Another key attribute of top performers is that they don’t feel the need to boost their own ego, by reiterating information as if the prospect or client did not receive it the first time. Concise explanations are understood and perceived as high status, whereas long winded responses are low-status. Clients (and people in general) generally require only forty-five seconds to make their decisions about you. Therefore, you only have forty-five seconds to get them to sign on to you, as it were.

Recently, I engaged a life coach for five coaching sessions, because I wondered if I had any blocks that may be holding me back from my next goal. I have a specific goal—I want to know if I have any false premises or false beliefs that are blocking any future success. I told the coach a bit of my dilemma. She then became a segue-er and spent six minutes telling me a story about her experiences. I was honest and said:

“You know what, that doesn’t work for me. Telling me about you does not help me uncover anything that I need to know about myself. I need someone that can ask me very concise and high-value questions.”

Similarly, your high-level clients want the focus to be on them; do not focus on you.

Line of light bulbs with just one turned on

The fourth attribute will help you stand out from the crowd. Top sales performers have a system and they follow it. They understand how to rate their clients as either A, B, or C, and they know the sales efforts that need to be put into each opportunity. If you have a contact that never buys, but always adds you on their fishing proposal list, you must consider them to be a C prospect, so move them up or move them out. However, no matter whether your client is an A, B, or C when you show up, do it with the knowledge, skills, and attitude of an A-salesperson. This categorization of clients exists to help you understand the business of sales; all clients and prospects (and people you encounter) deserve the very best A-game you can bring for each encounter.

Thinker statue photo

The fifth attribute is the ability to manage your emotions and feelings to deeply understand your client’s situation. You can put your own fears and need for approval aside. You can show up as a systematic thinker, and not as someone who needs approval or acceptance. Instead, top performers want to understand the cost of the client’s business situations and can negotiate the sales process to win the deal by providing solutions to complex problems.

A client shared the following during a team meeting debrief, “I’m going to Toronto to make a presentation to a client because we can save his company $150,000 year over year!” I asked, “What will the client do with that $150,000?” He said, “I have no idea but clearly this will now be one of my questions.” He asked the client that question, and having found out what the client would do with an extra $150,000, he customized his presentation and won the deal…fully appreciating the value of asking the next question.

Of these five attributes, using these three words, “tell me more”, in response to most client questions or statements will move the deal along and create loyal top A-level clients, faster than five minutes of dialogue. Their answer will educate you whereas you will remain none the wiser by simply talking.


This article is an excerpt from my upcoming publication:

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Sara Haynes, P. Eng.
President
Sigma Solutions

“I took advantage of Alice Wheaton’s offer for a free 30-minute consultation…but we chatted for almost an hour, during which I had several epiphanies that have inspired and motivated me to move forward. These were ideas that I could immediately start working on to help me get new clients and increase recurring revenues. This is what I call Value on Steroids!”


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One Comment

  1. Great info as always Alice! Thanks so much!

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