Salespeople are change agents. What are you doing to drive change with your customers?

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One characteristic that distinguishes a top-performing salesperson is their mindset toward change. That is, the very best don’t just adapt to change, as important as that may be, but they help create change in positive ways.

They continually ask themselves:

How do I influence change with my customers?

How can I craft a vision of what the future can be?

How can I help them improve their world?”

By doing so, they aren’t simply being opportunistic, but transformative– they want to help inspire a shift in the way things are done.

We refer to this mindset of top salespeople as one of a “catalyst.” Catalysts are always looking for ways to make something happen. Often, this begins by helping the customer to see their situation, or a potential development, in a completely different light.

For instance, you may ask a potential buyer what will happen if they fail to address a key issue, what the implications of their current decisions will be, or how their future could be different from the reality they deal with at the present moment. All salespeople do this to a certain degree, of course, but the best ones take it further; they don’t just ask questions, but actually challenge buyers in a thought-provoking way. This is something that the best, forward-looking customers actually love, since it shows a level of awareness and thinking that most salespeople never demonstrate.

To achieve that requires deep knowledge about your industry and your customer’s situation. It also takes a good sense of timing, and more than a little mental agility. Because the world that our buyers are facing is changing on a minute-by-minute basis, it’s important that you be able to follow trends and transitions, seeing things from your customer’s point of view and envisioning new futures and opportunities.

Most of all, however, it requires you to be focused on creating positive change. That is, holding a deep desire to make a lasting impact for those you serve. That’s not the same as simply generating orders and transactions, but the two are intertwined. The best salespeople are action-oriented – they are happiest when they are moving projects and ideas forward, and aren’t afraid to embrace new situations and viewpoints.

Ask yourself:

Are you truly working to create change?

Are you imagining futures for your customers that are better than the ones they enjoy today?

Are  you helping the customer “see” what the change will be?

To be a top salesperson you have to be a difference-maker first, and seeing yourself as a catalyst is an important first step.

Think about it.

 CQ headshotCarlos Quintero, founder of Sales Effectiveness, coaches senior executives who want to drive change with their sales teams. He can be reached at, or call 770-552-6612.