Learn from key traits of the best salespeople

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: September 7, 2007

Colleen Stanley

They are the few, the proud and, no, they're not the Marines. They are top-producing salespeople who consistently perform year after year. They sell in good or bad economic times, can sell a branded or nonbranded product and always do it with a can-do attitude. 

Here are some traits those top producers have in common: 

They're coachable:

 Top salespeople don't wait for the sales manager to find time to meet with them. They take responsibility for their own success and are proactive about asking for and receiving help. They're constantly looking for tools that will help them influence customers. 

They show up consistently:

 Top salespeople understand that business development is a process, not an event. They don't network just when they have the energy. They don't make cold calls just when they feel like it. They don't meet with referrals just when their pipeline is dry. 

They balance ego and humility:

 Top salespeople don't rest on their laurels and get puffed up over the money they're making and the deals they're closing. They keep their egos in check because they know arrogance is the biggest killer of success. 

They're lifelong learners:

 Top salespeople get smarter every year. They don't wait for the company to buy them a set of CDs or books or enroll them in training. They turn off the car radio and turn on the latest sales-training or leadership CD. They turn off the tube and turn on the reading lamp. 

They let it go:

 Top salespeople practice the Native American proverb, "Don't let yesterday use up too much of today." These individuals may lose a piece of business, but they don't lose their entire weekend stewing over it. 

They care:

The salespeople who care about their prospects and customers are in sales for the long run. They possess empathy. 

For example, a salesperson shows up for a meeting with his best customer, who seems distracted. Instead of focusing on the agenda, the salesperson drops the agenda and says to the customer, "Looks like there are other things going on today besides what we were scheduled to discuss. Do you mind sharing?" 

They also care about the customer after the sale. 

They don't have an entitlement attitude:

 Ever heard sales reps complain they can't sell because they don't have good enough marketing materials or a fancy CRM system? Top-producing salespeople create their own marketing material, develop their database and hire support. They don't expect a lot of handouts before they prove themselves. 

They understand delayed gratification:

They know it takes time to learn new products and service, build referral networks and fill a sales pipeline. Top salespeople are willing to invest the time on the front end because they know they will reap the returns on the back end. 

They work hard:

Top producers are at the office early doing paperwork so they can spend the rest of the day doing revenue-generating activities. There's early-morning networking, after-hour events and late-night travel. 



  • Are coachable and take responsibility for their own success
  • Show up consistently
  • Balance ego and humility
  • Are lifelong learners
  • Know how to let go of past failures
  • Truly care about their prospects and customers
  • Don't have an entitlement attitude
  • Understand delayed gratification
  • Work hard and understand sales is not a 9-to-5 job

About the Author

Colleen Stanley is founder and president of SalesLeadership Inc., a sales development firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, consultative sales training, emotional intelligence training. and leadership training for sales managers. She is the author of Growing Great Sales Teams and Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success. Reach Colleen at 303-708-1128 or visit www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com.

Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or electronically as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided to team@salesleadershipdevelopment.com. Thank you. 

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Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership Inc. in Denver. Reach her at cstanley@salesleadershipdevelopment.com or 303-708-1128 .

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