How to Earn $1 Million a Year in Sales
Want to earn $1 million in a year as a sales pro? It’s possible, but it’s definitely not easy.
I’ve had the privilege of working with and managing many top-performing sales professionals. Truly world-class salespeople. I can tell you that they share some common traits and practices that set them apart from the rest.
If you want to see seven figures on your W-2, check off as many of these boxes as you can. Some of these practices seem like they should be a given. They definitely should — but often they aren’t. So, be honest with yourself about whether you do them consistently well.
Be On Time
One of the fundamental principles of successful salesmanship is punctuality. This applies to all aspects of your sales efforts, whether it’s phone calls, meetings, presentations, or follow-up activities. Being on time demonstrates professionalism and respect for your prospect’s time. It sets the tone for a positive and productive interaction.
Showing up on time creates a sense of reliability and trust with your prospects. They are more likely to view you as someone who takes their business seriously and is committed to delivering value.
Even better, be early.
Your word is your bond. When you commit to something for a prospect, do it. It’s crucial to follow through on that commitment promptly and precisely. Whether it’s providing additional information, sending materials, or submitting a proposal, impeccable follow-up skills are essential. Do what you said you would quickly and succinctly — and don’t leave anything out.
When prospects see that you do what you say you will, they gain confidence in your ability to deliver on your promises. This trust is a cornerstone of successful long-term relationships.
Conversely, if your prospect can’t trust you to do something small, like send a PDF after a meeting, why would they trust you with their business?
Effective note-taking can’t be underestimated in the world of sales. You need to be able to quickly and accurately reference prospect pain points, next steps, key players, and other critical details.
There’s no “right” way to do it, so long as you have a reliable system that works for you. Incorporate digital tools, type them right into your CRM system, use pen and paper. If you haven’t found a method you like, talk to the top-performers at the company and ask what they do.
Staying organized with detailed notes will allow you to tailor your conversations and follow-ups based on the valuable insights you’ve gathered. You need to be able to very quickly reference previously discussed pain points, next steps, key players, etc. Few things are more off-putting to prospects than having to repeat essential information they know they’ve already told you. And more importantly, without good notes you may miss an opportunity to relate your solution to a previously discussed problem in the context and terms that will be impactful for them. This is especially true for longer sales cycles when conversations can be weeks or even months apart.
Make sure you balance friendliness and professionalism. While getting friendly with your prospects can pay dividends, top-earning sales reps are always professional, even while establishing personal connections.
A professional demeanor instills trust and confidence in your clients. It reassures them that you are a seasoned expert who approaches their business with the utmost seriousness.
There’s always something to do next. Even in roles that involve large or strategic accounts, high activity levels are key to success. Consistent activity — week after week, month after month, quarter after quarter — that’s what keeps the sales pipeline flowing. Top reps are always thinking several months ahead in terms of activity.
Even when you might not think there’s an immediate need for activity, maintaining consistency ensures that you’re top-of-mind when opportunities arise.
The most successful sales professionals invest time in becoming experts not only in their prospects’ businesses but they are also students of their respective industries. They share relevant articles, insights, and engage in intelligent conversations about macro factors that impact the prospect’s industry.
A commitment to adding value takes time and effort, but it pays off in the long run. By positioning yourself as a trusted advisor who brings more to the table than just a product or service, you become indispensable to your clients.
Ask questions, and more importantly, be genuinely interested in the answer. Top earners are curious about their prospects’ businesses, value propositions, customers, models, and strategies. They immerse themselves in the details, gaining an in-depth understanding that sets them apart.
This curiosity extends beyond the initial sale. Successful sales professionals continue to learn and evolve, adapting to changing market conditions and the evolving needs of their clients. They stay ahead of the curve by staying informed and engaged.
Join the Right Sales Org
Not all sales organizations are created equal. You have to ensure you’re in an environment that can support your earnings goals. The reps who earn the most evaluate whether their territory and the company’s product-market fit align with their objectives. They don’t hope it’s possible to earn $1M+ — they know they can.
Choosing the right sales environment is a strategic decision. It involves considering factors like product-market fit mentioned above, as well as the competitive landscape and the support and resources provided by the organization. Top earners understand that being in the right place significantly influences their ability to reach their financial goals.
While the journey may not be easy, with dedication and a steadfast commitment to these principles, you can position yourself to join the ranks of the $1 million W-2 club and achieve your financial aspirations.