The Top 5 Percent: How Does a Sales Professional Get There?

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Sales expert David Steel shares four tips that will help you join the ranks of the top 5 percent.

Anyone in sales more than a year has probably come across the top five percent conversation. This usually occurs throughout the first two months on a consistent basis and during meetings when accolades are given out.

The top five percent sales person is well above the rest when it comes to knowledge, understanding, technique, and the amount of money they make. How do you get there?

Reaching the top five percent isn’t an easy task. If you know anyone who is considered to be in the top five percent, you probably think they have a different personality than you. Whether they seem rude, cocky, arrogant, polite, or anything else, you just don’t have what it takes to accomplish the same goals. YES, YOU CAN! Here are a few ways you can start making it happen now:

Surround Yourself with the Right People

One of the most important approaches a top five percent sales representative can have is surrounding him or herself with the right people. This is especially true if you’re new to the sales game. The leadership and guidance you get throughout the journey will have a major impact on your success. Let the negative and inexperienced “mentors” coach the other 95 percent, because that isn’t going to be you.

Utilize Planning and Organization

The sales rep who tries to build a career solely off raw talent will suffer one of two results: a short sales career, or a mediocre one at best. There are several different strategies you can use, but without proper planning and organization, they won’t reach their full potential.

It’s also a good idea to remember that each potential client has different needs, so the strategies you use will vary from one client to another. Just ask a financial adviser what he or she does before sitting down with someone. For starters, they look at spending history, net worth, and they ask the right questions up front to help the people in need.

Find the Decision Makers

Individuals who reach the top five percent in sales do more than just get the sale. Their profiling skills are strong as well. One of the major components is making sure you’re in front of a decision maker. All sales reps have been in front of a person who says they need to speak with their husband or wife first. If you have, you most likely felt like you wasted time.

If you schedule to meet with decision makers you will also have more time to get in front of more people throughout the workday. Most married couples or partners want to make decisions together. Since you know this upfront, schedule a time to meet with them when they can both be there. In the end, you will see more people throughout the year and increase your overall sales.

Fill in the Spare Time

We all go through droughts from time to time, but the people in the top five percent know how to keep it at a minimum. They take the time to find new business, even if the day is full of repeat clients. By making arrangements to meet with these potential “new clients” at a later date they are able to keep the schedule full. So while others are dealing with a “dry” part of the year, the top five percent person will be continuing to build their business.

If you’re willing to work hard and build a client base, all four of these tips will be crucial to your success. In six months to a year from now, you could be in the top five percent yourself.


This is a guest post from David Steel, one of the nation’s leading experts on Sales Motivation.