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2006 FIN – Reilly: Study Shows Top STAFDA Salespeople Are Relationship Oriented & Stingy on Discounts

August 19
00:00 2014

December 18, 2006 FIN – The top 10% of outside sales people are “intrinsically motivated” and “maniacs on a mission,” consultant Tom Reilly found in studying the most successful sales staff.

In a study initiated by the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association, Reilly observed, “there is no one ideal selling style,” but a salesperson’s customer relations are more important than price.
Riley found in research for the recently published 172-page Sales Pro that the top salespeople are even “stingy with discounting.” While 49% of salespeople in the survey would discount an average of 5.42% in a situation, a 51% majority of the top STAFDA salespersons would not discount at all, Reilly reported.
The survey also shows buyers “rate ownership costs as more important to them than acquisition price.”
“STAFDA sales pros report that 79% of their success comes from their relationships with customers,” Reilly pointed out.
The top STAFDA salespeople consider themselves 77% people-oriented vs. 23% task oriented, compared with 51% task/49% people oriented for the average salesperson.
The book is based on a study of 101 salespeople who rank in the top 10% of their STAFDA company’s sales in volume and profit, and 30 volunteers in a control group.
Among the characteristics Reilly found in STAFDA sales pros are:
• “A total of 95% of sales pros routinely plan their sales calls vs. fewer than 10% of the general salespeople.
• “A total of 83% of sales pros use itineraries to plan their weeks.
• 84% have a system to classified accounts.
• 85% have a paper or electronic personal organization system.
• Sales pros average three to five calls to close a sale. “It takes four to five ‘no’s’ before they quit trying,” Reilly said.
• A total of 83% of sales pros review with customers the value they add and they spend 83% of their sales time “protecting and growing existing accounts.”
• “Nearly three quarters of sales pros make joint calls with their sales managers.”
• Three quarters of sales calls are non-appointment and 20% are cold calls.
• Nearly three-quarters have “positive relationships with inside staff.”
• 92.4% have goals outside of work.

Pay and benefits are the top motivator for both the top salespeople and other sales groups Reilly has studied. Interesting work, job security, growth, autonomy, management attitude, peer respect, work conditions, the feeling of being “in” on things and praise/recognition round out the top ten motivators.
“Job security as #3 was a bit of a surprise until we analyzed what money means to STAFDA sales pros,” Reilly reflected. “”For them, money is overwhelmingly ‘security’ vs. the ability to buy toys or as a status enhancer.”
Praise and recognition may have ranked low because “there is plenty of praise and recognition in sales.” Praise is “grossly overestimated as a way to motivate salespeople.”
“Value-added salespeople make it a habit to do what other salespeople fail to do,” Reilly wrote. “From goal-setting to planning their sales calls to making professional presentations, value-added salespeople commit to excellence in all that they do.”
Among his closing comments, Reilly urges salespeople to “continue to be a serious student of our profession”, “Plan every sales call and work that plan. Seek ways to bring value to your customers” and “look for opportunities to brag positively about your value,” “listen more than talk,” “set priorities by pay-off,” “have prepared responses to the most common objections you hear,” and “seek ways to build trust with your follow-up, reliability, accessibility and empathy.”
Reflecting on the study, Reilly noted the STAFDA study “sought stand-out characteristics that served as common denominators of sales behavior more than personality. Our primary objective was to nullify the myth that there is a ‘natural-born’ salesperson.”
STAFDA initiated the study and published the results as a self-paced, self-directed training workbook for members’ sales managers and salespeople.
In addition to being a manual for new sales staff, ongoing training and motivation, Sales Pro offers benchmarks to examine work habits. The book builds on STAFDA’s inside sales manual, Counter Pro, which was published in 2005. The book covers four key topics: Organization skills, attitude, selling habits and people skills. Chapters include: Building knowledge, time and territory management, gaining from sales managers/coaches, getting appointments, preparing and canvassing sales calls, handling objections, financial selling, customer service, value reinforcement, relationship selling and leverage.
All STAFDA members were sent a copy of Sales Pro. Additional copies can be ordered for staff members. Tel: 262 784-4774 or 800 352-2981 E-mail: Web: . ©2006/2014 Fastener Industry News
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Related Links:

• Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association

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