The New Salesman Part 5: Focus

by James Barton / December 10, 2020

In this penultimate blog on the 5 attributes for the ‘New Salesman’ we are going to explore Focus.

In case you need a reminder, here are the five attributes.

Agility – Our ability to process information and make decision based on what is being received
Control – Our ability to be impulsive or decisive when it comes to our routines
Analytics – Our ability to look at a calculated risk from an instinctive or deliberate perspective
Focus – Our ability to avoid distraction and focus on a single task
Risk – Our attitude towards risk

Focus is our ability to avoid distractions and instead focus by sifting through the ‘noise’ to identify critical information.

This is an essential skill today as it is very easy to get distracted and lost amongst the data rather than focusing on what is really going to make a difference.

The job of a salesperson today has never been more complex, but without doubt the hardest thing to do is filter out the distractions and white noise, and key in on the crucial signals the buyer is sending.

This noise is very often very well meaning, but at the end of the day, it is only noise. Product training, enablement, CRM dashboards, the latest research, pushing posts on Social Media… and that’s just from the business.

From the buyer, we are looking for their behaviour, their actions, their intents and (a guess at) their next steps.

This is why Focus is such an important skill. The ability to identify the critical information will help us filter out what actually needs to happen rather than getting lost in the noise.

As it relates to our sales skills, as you can imagine, this covers a number of areas such as:

  • Negotiation – focusing in on what’s really important to the buyer so a great partnership can be built
  • Qualification – as you will hear me say time and time again, qualifying out is more important that qualifying in, which is why you need to be reading the buyer and looking for the critical information that indicates whether there is an opportunity or not throughout the sales cycle
  • Sales forecasting – A critical skill (from the manager’s perspective) that requires us to focus in on the information that tells us when the revenue can be forecast. Getting this wrong can have profound impacts on the company as a whole
  • Closing – They say “always be closing” but right now it is all about timing. Push too soon for a close and you will get a strong push back… or radio silence. The ability to focus allows us to know when the right time is to start to close
  • Mirroring and matching – Somewhat old school behavioural stuff, but it’s actually still massively important, especially when selling digitally. Sometimes the old stuff works brilliantly, we just need to change the application. If we can focus and get past the distractions of digital selling, we can make a difference

I could go on, but what’s important is to remember that focus brings clarity. Clarity brings action. Action brings results.

These 5 new attributes form part of Mentor Group’s view on how selling has changed and what it means to sellers and organisations as they adapt. Our new programs and solutions around this core concept are breaking new ground in sales performance and are having a profound effect on our application of sales enablement and the results it can bring.

If you would like to chat with me about the 5 attributes, do get in touch and I would be pleased to talk to you about it more.

Stay focused!

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.