Successful sales – what is the real secret?

A quick Google of the phrase the secret to successful sales reveals hundreds of books and posts on the subject. And yet when a sales team all learn and develop the same set of sales skills, there will always be some who perform better than others.

Why is that? What is it about those high performers that makes them so successful? And can we ever learn to emulate them?

The Salesperson’s Secret Code

Research carried out by Transform People International (which included 50,000 respondents, 5,000 organisations and 1,000 interviews) now has the answer.

What the research revealed was that all salespeople hold five main core beliefs, namely: fulfilment, control, resilience, influence and communication. But what sets some people apart and makes them a high performer, is their attitude towards those beliefs. Or what you could call their sub beliefs.

Let me explain. The research also revealed that for every one of the five core beliefs, there are two main responses or approaches (sub beliefs) to that belief. The extent to which you hold those sub beliefs shapes your attitude, behaviour and your performance. This is your own personal sales code. Again, let me explain by reference to the five core beliefs.


When it comes to fulfilment (which equates to success) the two main drivers (or sub beliefs) are fear of failure on the one hand and a desire to be better / do better on the other. Most of us are motivated by a combination of the two but it is the balance of that combination that matters. Are you more driven by fear or desire? And how much of your motivation is driven by fear? 99%? 75%? It’s these percentages that are key.


The core belief of control is about to what extent you are fatalistic. Are you a what will be, will be type or do you believe that shaping your destiny is entirely within your own hands? To what extent is either one of these sub beliefs your driving force?


As we face up to the reality that life will always present us with challenges to be overcome, the two sub beliefs that come into play are whether you believe that in order to overcome a challenge, you have to dig deep and work harder, or whether you believe it’s important to step back and try and find a different way of doing things.


In this context, the core belief is about believing that the more successful you are, the more influence you will have. Your sub beliefs in respect of how to be influential will fall into the main categories of either believing that this requires you to be strong and assertive, or alternatively, to be flexible and adaptive.


The final of the five core beliefs is communication and the question here is whether you believe good communication is about getting a clear and succinct message across or whether you think the key to good communication is about having a conversation and building relationships.

Cracking the code

Having established the five core beliefs and the corresponding ten sub beliefs (our sales code), the most critical part of the research revealed that the best performing salespeople have an almost identical code. In other words, the percentage by which they are driven by each of the five sets of sub beliefs was the same. For example, when it comes to fulfilment, the high performers are driven more by desire than by fear but more precisely, their motivation is divided 38% to 62% in favour of desire.

How does that help you to achieve successful sales?

It’s important to stress, there is no judgement here. We all hold beliefs that have been shaped by our life experiences to date, and we may have had limited control over some of those.

But this new research gives us a blueprint. We can now work out and compare our own code to that of the high performers, which in turn allows us to make adjustments to our own code and thereby create a more successful sales mindset.

Is it that easy?

Well yes, and no. It is not easy to accurately self-analyse the precise percentage make up of your driving sub beliefs! But it is possible, and the researchers have designed a simple questionnaire system that allows you to do just that. That gives you a stating point and will enable you to recognise some of the thinking and language patterns that may actually be holding you back.

Changing mindset or beliefs is possible too and doesn’t always have to mean big changes.

Coaching can really help with this from understanding your own code, to making those all-important changes … and in short, cracking the secret to successful sales – salesperson’s secret code.

If you would like to know more about your own sales code or those of your sales people and how this could help performance, please get in touch.

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