3 Things Successful Salespeople Always Do

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Garin Hess

Guest post summary from Don Cash, SVP of Global Inside Sales at BMC Software


old-fashioned-handshake-twitterGood sales reps close deals. They wouldn’t be on the team if they didn’t.

Great reps close deals, too. The difference is that they close deals consistently.

As a VP of sales, I can say first-hand how important linearity is. Good reps may close deals, but nothing beats the consistent, predictable revenue that stems from having great salespeople.

The differences between good and great reps are subtle, but impactful. Throughout my time in sales, I’ve been able to identify those subtle differences. Here are 3 things specific things successful salespeople always do:

  • Build Quid Pro Quo Relationships

Quid Pro Quo is a Latin phrase that literally translates into “something for something.”

In more casual language, quid pro quo is often translated as, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”

Great salespeople work to establish quid pro quo relationships in every single interaction.

After a few conversations, a good salesperson might promise to follow up with references, case studies, and a list of all of the company’s installed customers in the relevant vertical. A great rep, on the other hand, will say that they’ll get the prospect all of those things, if they get a meeting with the CFO.

It’s fine to work for the prospect and get them what they need, but great reps always ask for something in return from the customer. This builds legitimacy and helps qualify the relationship along the way.

  • Constantly Qualify Their Opportunities

Great reps understand that there are only so many hours to burn in a sales cycle or a quarter, which means that there are only so many hours they have available to spend on each deal.

Knowing that, great reps are always trying to qualify prospects so they can make sure they’re spending their time on the right deals that will close at the right times.

Most great reps do this by identifying the sequence of events; that is, what’s happening at the organization that is driving the deal forward? What needs to happen to move the deal through the sales cycle?

A good example for this is a retailer that needs to lock down its eCommerce platform by the end of July to have enough time to prepare for Black Friday. That’s a compelling event. The software must be implemented by that time.

Using that date, the rep can work backwards to establish a sequence of events and let the prospect know what needs to happen to close the deal.

This is often formalized in a milestone document. (Which further builds the quid pro quo relationship, by the way.) A milestone document lists out all the things the rep needs to do, and all the things the customer needs to do. Then, it attaches a date to all of those milestones.

This allows great reps to continually test whether or not a deal is on track for closure. If things are on track? Great. The rep knows the sale is still qualified. If not? Great reps hold customers accountable.

This is yet another data point in evaluating whether or not the deal is on track for closure.

  • Accurately Forecast

Finally, most good reps “hopecast.” When they commit a deal or revenue, it often comes with an asterisk; “I think I’m going to make my quota with these accounts, but if I don’t get it with them I’m going to have a bunch of backups I can go to.”

Great reps don’t hopecast. They forecast. They commit deals and know exactly how much they’re going to close, and when. Most importantly, they know why because they’ve invested time in other areas building quid pro quo relationships and qualifying deals all throughout the sales cycle.

Great reps inherently understand what it takes to get a deal done. They’re fundamentally bought into what a sales cycle looks like, and what the different stages are that need to happen. They know which deals are going to close.

Great reps are consistently working on deals throughout their year, quarter, and month. They’re able to balance closing opportunities, prospecting for new ones, and working deals through the sales cycle so they don’t have those huge peaks and valleys you see in revenue from average salespeople.

By building habits around the three things listed here, good reps can become great ones.


Enjoyed this post? Check out the full webinar Don Cash did with our CSO, Matt Behrend:




Don Cash is SVP of Global Inside Sales at BMC Software. Before BMC, Cash helped grow sales at Omniture from $6MM to $1B; Omniture was acquired by Adobe in the process. Cash has achieved his annual quota in over 25 straight years of sales and sales management.