10 Things Top Performers Never Say

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Top performers in any company all seem so lucky all the time, don’t they? They are always on top, always seem to have the best leads, always have lay-down sales, always get favorable treatment with the bosses, and are just overall really lucky in life. Right?

Wrong. Top performers are not lucky, they make their own luck. In our company, I looked around at the top performers and compared them to the rest. While comparing the two groups, I noticed that those who are on the bottom have 10 key phrases that I never heard the top performers say, not even once.

If you want to become a top dog and you find yourself saying any one of the following phrases, I would highly suggest removing them at once.

  • The hours here are ridiculous and the days are too long.

On the contrary, those who are top performers want to work longer and more days because that just means more opportunities for sales. To quote the movie The Boiler Room, if you are worried about working long hours and want time off, then “go teach 3rd grade public school”.

  • These leads are terrible.

You know what Blake ( Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross) would say in response to this. Top performers are so confident in their own abilities that they can’t even see a lead as being weak. Everything is an opportunity if they pitch it correctly.

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  • It’s not a good time to call these people because…

With the introduction of cell phones that everyone carries with them all the time, this excuse should never even be said by anyone, yet I hear it often. “Oh, well, they are probably at work/school/out to dinner, so I’ll wait until later”. That’s a slippery slope – you can use that logic to rationalize that any time is a bad time.

  • My throat hurts today/I don’t feel well.

I have the luxury of sitting next to a guy who has been a top performer in our company for over 10 years. The other day, he came in after battling a horrible cold. His voice sounded terrible and his throat must have been raw. Didn’t matter to him – he picked up his phone and made it happen. When I asked him if it hurt, he said “Yes, but making money is the best antidote for me”.

  • I have nothing to do right now.

This one amazes me. Watching someone sit there and stare at the wall of their cubicle  while they have half their leads in “voicemail” status is like watching someone throw money away because they are too lazy to circle back around. You’ll never see a top performer with nothing to do. Either they are calling, or they are working on their script, or working on their strategy for the next call.


  • This is too hard today. I can’t hear another “no” today.

Yes, some days are magic, while other days are tragic. Top performers fight through the sea of “no’s” until they get to hear a “yes”. Only by giving up will you guarantee your failure.

  • I had a great day yesterday so I can just slack today.

Congratulations, you were the top salesman yesterday and made more money that day than you did in all of last week. Why should you stop there? Top performers see this as an opportunity to take advantage of them being on a roll, not a chance to relax.

  • I know what I am doing, I don’t need to listen to this training.

This one is interesting. You would think that top performers would be more likely to say that because, well, they do know what they are doing. However, top performers are always looking at opportunities to learn and grow, regardless of sales volume, number of satisfied customers, or years on the job. Mediocre performers stop learning and growing once they are confident. Bottom performers are too arrogant to even start.

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  • These quotas are too high.

Top performers don’t even look at minimum quotas. They look at the maximum performance standard as their starting point. To top performers, the quotas are a joke and are not even on their mind. They are solely focused on the top sales bar. This difference in mental attitude plays a huge role in the success of a salesperson.

  • I didn’t make that sale but it was not my fault because…

At the end of the day, not even the best in the world can close every single person. The difference is, those who are great look at those failures as opportunities to learn and grow. They look at themselves in the mirror and say “Well, I messed that one up, what can I do to not let that happen again?”. Bottom performers look at every failure as some sort of external conspiracy. “The weather was bad” or “Brexit is wreaking havoc on people’s finances so that’s why I could not close them”. All excuses. You’ll never hear a top performer making an excuse.

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Author: Jason Karaman

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