What does it take to be number one? And stay there!

What does it take to be number one? And stay there!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

UntitledWhat does it take to be number one? And stay there!

I called Bob Higgins, southeast regional sales director for Cintas (The Uniform People) and asked to interview his BEST salesperson. “Jeffrey, that’s easy.” Bob said with pride. “The southeast’s best salesperson is also the company’s best salesperson, and she has been the past three years. Her name is Terri Norris.”

I asked Bob to ask Terri to email me her ten best qualities. The ones she felt “put her over the top.” The email arrived the next morning (no surprise) and it began like this: “Hello Jeffrey! When Bob Higgins asked me to call you with my ‘top ten best qualities’ I said, “What! Only ten?” Well, if I can ONLY give you ten, here they are…”

Spoken with the personal pride and self-confidence of a “number one.” All salespeople are different with one exception — they all want to make the sale. So as you read this list, be advised that these qualities may not be the ones you seek to attain or master. That’s up to you. They are presented to you because Atlanta-based Terri Norris is the number one salesperson on a team of more than a thousand, and she didn’t get there by accident. So I thought you might be interested in how a winner thinks and acts.

Here, in her own words, are the top ten qualities and characteristics of what makes Terri Norris number one.
1. A contagious positive attitude. I believe that I am blessed and that positive things will happen in my life. Because I believe that positive things will happen to me, they do!
2. Excited about the prospect of helping others. Sincerely caring. When I have appointments, I want to help my prospective customers solve a problem, get better service, increase productivity, etc. I believe that they can sense that I want to help them and not “sell them something”.
3. Self-assured, not arrogant. Confidence. I know that I can achieve whatever I decide to and am willing to work hard for. I believe in myself and my abilities. My personal motto is “They can, who believe they can. I believe I can”.
4. I like people and they like me. People like me right away. I’m not a threat to them. And I’m not perceived as “salesy.” Being able to relate to people, ALL people. I don’t try to “type” people; I just try to “like” them.
5. Not just “book smart.” Being able to assess and solve real-world problems. Being able to prioritize and decide which things (prospects) to spend time on and which not to. Work smarter, not harder.
6. If I’m not having fun, what’s the point? I have often been described as “easily amused.” I think this is one of my best characteristics. I find joy in almost everything.
7. I do everything full-force. I sweat when I work and I sweat when I dance. 110% is the minimum acceptable standard. If something is worthwhile, I give it everything I have.
8. Unspoken integrity. Visibly honest. I try to be honest and ethical in everything that I do. I feel that being trustworthy and honorable is a strong statement of character. I try to always keep my promises. Hopefully, my word means something to others, because it means EVERYTHING to me.
9. I concentrate on the details without getting caught up in them. Beyond organized. Detail is vital to my success. It sounds minute, but it’s HUGE. I keep things in order so I can function error-free. I try not to waste time or energy by trying to find things twice or pick up dropped balls.
10. I’m kid-like happy on the inside. I have the enthusiasm of a 2-year-old with a college degree and a business card. I am the eternal cheerleader for myself and others. I want everyone to win (except my competition).

I interviewed Terri at the Cintas Southeast sales conference. Besides being a gem of a person, her interview produced several verbal gems — here are a few more for your thought-enjoyment.

  • My attitude knob is always set on positive.

  • I create rapport so that the prospect feels like he or she is in my home and can go to my fridge and get a Coca-Cola (or Diet Coke, my favorite) without asking.

    Then I asked her if there was any one characteristic she’d place over the others? “I am Gomer Pyle friendly, sincere, and believable.” She said that with pride.

    Well gohleeee! No wonder she’s number one.

    Free GitBit. Want some more number one wisdom? I’ve prepared a list of Terri Norris sales gems and philosophies from our interview. Winning philosophies and strategies. Want them? Just go to www.gitomer.com (register if you’re a first time visitor) and enter the word NORRIS in the GitBit box.

    Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com