Rise to the top 4% in sales – Part 2

This is one of a series of blogs written specifically for those people in small businesses who are responsible for winning sales. These people will often have other roles and responsibilities which requires them to be very time-efficient during their selling activities. Larger businesses are likely to employ one or more full-time salespeople and this blog series is also written to help these people.

Last time I introduced how the top 4% of salespeople in any industry will make 64% of all sales and in order to move yourself into the top 4% you need to know the formula for success:


A weakness in any of these 3 areas of Knowledge, Attitude and Skill will hamper your attempts to be successful at selling.

To reach the top 4%, you need to continually increase your scores in each of these 3 areas. Start by giving yourself a score for each component. This is your baseline. Plan how you can improve your scores in each area over the next 3 –6 months. Follow your plan and monitor your progress. Repeat the same process every 3 –6 months to develop a programme of continual improvement.

Here are some suggestions:

10 ways to improve your knowledge

  1. Read all you can about your industry, markets and key individuals
  2. Collect brochures / annual reports for companies in your markets
  3. Find out all you can about your competition
  4. Get to know key players in your industry, learn what they do with their time
  5. Join industry / professional bodies and invest time getting involved with committees
  6. Ensure you know how businesses work, from Finance to HR
  7. Network to grow your contacts and build new relationships
  8. Take courses and attend conferences
  9. Share knowledge with your network and people will reciprocate
  10. Keep searching for new and better ways to do things, talk regularly to your contacts.

10 ways to improve your attitude

  1. Think only about what you want, never about what you don’t want
  2. Write down what you want to achieve as goals. Write them out every day
  3. Build a close knit inner-network of people who will help and encourage you
  4. Take full responsibility for what happens to you. The Law of Cause & Effect applies
  5. Be quick to listen and slow to talk. Learn to understand others
  6. Accept things will go wrong and decide to learn from each experience
  7. Mix with positive people
  8. Network with a “give unconditionally”attitude, the Law of Sowing and Reaping applies
  9. Avoid negative “self-talk”. Find something positive to think about
  10. Reinforce your positive attitude by reading motivational books regularly.

10 ways to improve your skills

  1. Read books, listen to CDs on sales related skills as you travel
  2. Study successful people, find out how they spend their time. Copy them
  3. Attend seminars and conferences
  4. Book onto training courses and learn
  5. Find a good (sales) coach
  6. Force yourself to go outside your comfort zone
  7. Commit time in your personal schedule for learning new skills
  8. Listen carefully to others and ask better questions to draw out more information
  9. Identify your key success areas and get to work improving your skills in them
  10. Keep networking and meeting new people.

If you study these 30 different ways to improve your performance, you will see there are no techniques for persuading prospects to arrange initial sales meetings. Nor will you find explanations of manipulative closing techniques to help you win more deals.

Successful selling is more about being ready for whenever your prospects are ready to buy.

Keep improving in these 3 areas and the multiplier effect of the success formula will lift you into the top 4% of salespeople. It is inevitable.


  1. Understand how the formula for success works and accept that whatever you do will improve or reduce your overall level of success. Everything counts.
  2. Aim to continually improve your performance in each of the 3 components of the success formula. Small improvements over a long period of time will be much easier than striving for a step-change improvement overnight.
  3. If you are not familiar with the 80/20 Principle, search out some books on the topic and understand how it can be applied to everything you do.
Posted in Sales / Business Growth