What Do Top Salespeople Do Differently?

Almost everything that a top producer does is the opposite of what the average salesperson does. Learning how to sell like a top producer starts with learning how to STOP doing what the average salesperson does.

by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls

Almost everything that a top producer does is the opposite of what the average salesperson does.  Learning how to sell like a top producer starts with learning how to STOP doing what the average salesperson does.

Average Salespeople Top Producers
Use small talk and other techniques to seem friendly, courteous, and charming. Do not try to seem friendly.  They focus on doing business with a businesslike attitude.
Try to find prospects who are interested in what they are selling.  They believe that interested people are likely to buy from them. Spend as little time as possible with a prospect who is merely interested.  Interested prospects only want information, and there are plenty of average salespeople who will give it to them without ever making the sale.
Try to get appointments with every qualified prospect who may need what they are selling.  They believe that need is a good indicator that someone is likely to buy. Do not give appointments to just any prospect, but only those who actually want what they are selling and are likely to buy it now.
Try to be liked, using commonality, agreement, and flattery. Do not try to be liked.  They focus instead on whether mutual trust and respect is likely to develop, or not.
Try to persuade and convince prospects of the benefits and value of their products and services. Do not attempt to persuade or convince.  If the prospect does not want what they are selling, they find one who does.
Try to close the sale by overcoming objections. Do not create objections in the first place.  The prospect closes the sale.

Average salespeople tend to be frustrated and disappointed with their work, but don’t know how to change what they are doing.  Top producers tend to be happy with their work and are always looking for more efficient, more productive, and more enjoyable ways of selling.

Author: Carl Ingalls

Administrator for High Probability Selling Blog

16 thoughts on “What Do Top Salespeople Do Differently?”

  1. Jacques,

    Do you think that sales has changed any from when you first published your book? I mean, I see so many different mediums to sell on; the Internet, Texts, TV, Movies, Taxis, etc, but as a former stockbroker, most of my friends that are still cold calling do it the same way we did in the 90’s.

    Just wanted to get your thoughts.



  2. Jonathan,

    Technology has brought us new ways of connecting with people, but the way you treat people still works the same as before.

    Cold calling the way that most people did it in the 90’s was not the best method then, and it’s still not the best method today.

    We teach a different way of finding prospects. The most important difference is in the way you treat people.

    There are several posts on this blog that describe this.



  3. So, does that mean you think selling overall has changed from when you first wrote the book?

    I agree with your approach, I just see so many businesses still using manipulative and persuasive sales tactics disguised in many respects as education based selling.


  4. Carl, This is good. We have the whole prospect Q&A like in the book. LOL.

    You know what I mean. Maybe it was a rhetorical question, but I am in a different industry with different rules than most. I wonder if sales professionals still use the same techniques that their bosses did and that their bosses bosses did?

    Thought I would ask the man on the other side of the fence.


    1. Jonathan,

      Actually, I don’t know what you mean in sufficient detail to give a precise answer. That’s probably because I am an engineer. We pick at the details of a question, because that’s how we find answers that others don’t see.

      The answer to your question could be very different if you are talking about the average sales professional versus the ones at the top. For instance, the ones at the top almost never used the same techniques that their bosses did.

      I will ask Jacques to answer your questions.

      Carl Ingalls


    2. Jonathan,

      Yes, most salespeople sell the same way now as they did fifty years ago, regardless of the industry. They are a bit more efficient now due to the use of computerized contact management systems and better prospecting lists.

      However, their selling methods have not changed. They still rely on persuading, convincing, and other manipulations to try to get people to buy.

      That’s why the sales departments in most companies have the highest rates of failure and turnover.



  5. Before doing any “telephone prospecting,” you would need some names to call. Where are salespeople even getting leads from these days? When I interview for jobs, sales managers tell me that finding leads is part of the job requirements and that they prefer to hire salespeople who come ready to go with their own leads and contacts. Or, if they provide leads, it is just a few per week and the same leads are also given to other salespeople in the office. Where does a leads list come from?


  6. Great information! Have you considered a hybrid version of these two types? I seem to be more of a hybrid depending on my clients. It has worked great but is this a bad technique?


  7. To Mike L.

    In general, “leads” that are purchased or given to a salesperson are not worth the time it takes to call them.

    A good salesperson usually buys a “prospecting” list of people that typically buy what they are selling. They call the people on that list and find those who are ready, willing and able to buy.

    Since we have no idea what you are selling or what kind of company you are with, we have no way to advise you where to start.


  8. Joshua,

    We don’t know of anyone who has “successfully” blended Conventional Selling with High Probability Selling. The intentions and methodologies of each are direct opposites.

    There are some people who have tried it and been satisfied with the results. However, their results have been far below the average closing rates of most of our graduates.


  9. I sell life insurance to members of the Tennessee National Guard. The have policies in place that have a larger value than our policies do. How might I go about sellin them this additional policy?


  10. Glen

    Are the policies in place term or permanent? If they are term and you are selling permanent, you might ask them if they want the cash value feature, or paid up insurance feature.


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