Five Traits of Excellent Salespeople

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Posted: December 2, 2016

Jim Rohn, author, speaker and millionaire entrepreneur, mentored the likes of Tony Robbins, the world-famous personal and business development guru, and Mark Hughes, founder of Herbalife International. Growing up on an Idaho farm, his work ethic served him well. Consider this Rohn quote: “Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.”

This quote always reminds me of the differences between excellent salespeople and average ones. I’ve had the great privilege of working with some of the top salespeople in the business. It’s no surprise that the best keep trying to get better, which is why they invest in training.

Here are traits that I have found in these top producers.

  1. Excellent salespeople possess high emotional self-awareness AND self-regard. They are confident and introspective. This combination allows them to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They readily admit their mistakes and more importantly, learn from them.

No CYA going on here. The focus is on learning and results, not excuses. No wonder they keep exceeding quota.

  1. Excellent salespeople are students of sales and regard it as a profession. They seek advice from veteran salespeople, better salespeople or successful people outside their industry. A successful vice president of sales that I have worked with for more than 10 years applied this strategy. When he first entered the sales profession, he sought out the best salespeople in his company and offered to buy them breakfast, lunch or dinner so he could pick their brains. He knew they had to eat! While his mentors were eating, he was learning.
  2. Excellent salespeople are team players. Yup, the really good ones understand it takes a sales village to win and retain business. Excellent salespeople build relationships with their external and internal customers. They recognize that their peers are executing the sale after the sale. They don’t have the “I brought it in the door, now it’s up to you” mentality.

They are competitive AND collaborative.

  1. Excellent salespeople are fun. They take business and client results -- but not themselves -- seriously. They hit the fun quota and the sales quota because they like sales and they like their clients. Excellent salespeople recognize that the selling profession, done right, creates great business relationships and friendships.  
  2. Excellent salespeople make lemonade out of lemons. Years ago, I hired a salesperson that really wanted to join our company. We didn’t have a lot of openings, so she moved from Naples, Fla., to south Alabama. Yes, that was a bit of a culture shock. On paper, the territory didn’t look good. There was a tough competitor and our company lacked brand awareness. She started making lemonade, knocking on doors and knocking out the competition. Her lemonade-making skills paid off and she became rookie of the year. 

What are the traits that you see in excellent salespeople?

Good Selling!