Top 9 Traits of Successful Salespeople

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: June 17, 2010

Top-producing salespeople sell in good or bad economic times, can sell a branded or non-branded product, and always do it with a can-do attitude.

What do these top producers have in common? Here are some of their traits to which you can compare your sales team.

They're coachable
Top salespeople don't wait for their sales manager to find time in his/her busy schedule to meet with them. They take responsibility for their own success, and are proactive about asking for and receiving help. When they receive feedback, they actually do something with it. They're constantly looking for tools that will help them influence customers and close business.

They show up consistently
Top salespeople understand that business development is a process, not an event. They don't just network when they have the energy. They don't just make cold calls when they feel like it. They don't just meet with referral partners when their pipeline is dry. They don't buy into the time excuse. They always make time to prospect. Top salespeople consistently show up every week with a plan and execute it.

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've observed arrogant salespeople who start believing their own press and, as a result, are so busy reading the releases they don't see the competitor sneaking up on them.

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 understand that at the end of the day, success is their responsibility and no one else's. If they work for one of the smart companies that does provide training, that's a bonus. Top salespeople turn off the car radio and turn on the latest sales training or leadership CD. Top salespeople turn off the tube and turn on the reading light to make sure they're staying abreast of the latest trends in business.

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. Instead, they hold a short pity party and get right back to business, armed with new lessons learned.

They care
The salesperson who cares about their prospects and customers is in sales for the long run. They possess empathy. For example, a salesperson shows for a meeting with their best customer, who seems very distracted. Instead of focusing on the agenda, the salesperson drops the agenda and says to his/her 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. Top salespeople honor promises and make sure commitments are met.

There is no entitlement attitude
Ever heard a rep complain they can't sell because they don't have good enough marketing materials, a fancy CRM system or sales support? (By the way, this type of salesperson never makes it in a startup, where you're lucky to get a pen and piece of paper supplied.) Top-producing salespeople create their own marketing material, develop their database and hire support. They don't expect a lot of handouts before they have proven 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 - Plain and simple.
Top producers aren't slouches. They're at the office early doing paperwork so they can spend the rest of the day doing revenue-generating activities. They understand sales is not a 9-to-5 job. There's early morning networking, after-hour events and late-night travel. Top producers are in the business of sales because they want to reap the rewards of their individual efforts.