Sales Essentials Blog

The real secret to sales success

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How many times have we all been tempted to click on a link that offers us ‘the secret of sales success’ only to find a website or article that is promising a silver bullet ‘if only you do this one thing’ which doesn’t help us at all?

The business of sales excellence is like the diet industry, full of tempting offerings that lead us nowhere fast.

It is only natural that people want simple answers to complex problems. ‘The world would be so much easier if only…’ we sigh.

However, “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong”, Henry Louis Mencken.

Sales is a complex function with many variables. There are things we can control, things we can influence and then things outside of our control.

Sales success comes down to how we think, adapt and work with these variables to realise opportunity and sell better.

There are those, of course, who hit the sales success jackpot because they were in the right place at the right time, or because markets were hot and they stood there taking order after order. Good on them. However, this is not what we refer to when it comes to the secrets of sales success.

Not all markets remain hot, and standing on the ‘corner’ waiting for the right place and the right time isn’t a good strategy.

The true test of a salesperson or anyone who is in a revenue generating role, is how well we can sell in the down times, how well we can discern and identify opportunity and then go after it, how capable we are of bringing the right ingredients together that deliver good outcomes for buyers and sellers, how innovative, creative and resilient we are when things get tough.

There are many things we need to master to achieve genuine sales success. (Mastery is having comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular subject or activity.)

So let’s look at the secret to sales success straight in the eye and determine what we need to master.

  1. Knowledge

    1. Self – how you function, self-awareness, style, motivators, drivers, self-limiting behaviours, etc.
    2. Sales processes, business systems, technology
    3. Markets, customers, competitors, etc.
    4. Technical, products, services, solutions and how they help customers
    5. Business and commercial acumen
  2. Skills

    1. Planning – territories, accounts, self-management
    2. Prospecting – new business development in new and existing accounts
    3. Solution selling
    4. Networking, relationship building and team-work
    5. Project management
    6. Analysis and reporting
    7. Proposal development
    8. Strategic account planning, thinking and action
  3. Mindset

    1. Ethics, integrity and professionalism
    2. Collaborating to achieve results
    3. Self-reflection
    4. Empathy and compassion
    5. Resilience and future-mindedness
    6. Initiative, achievement focused and tenacity
    7. Adaptability

Master these elements and you will be well on the way to achieving sales success.

It is a life-long journey of evolution that cannot be shortcut.

Sales success is not achieved by default or chance, it is achieved by design.

Author: Sue Barrett, 


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