Top Salespeople: Born or Made?

Published Thursday, July 21, 2011 5:06 PM

What sets a top salesperson apart from merely an average one? Are top sellers born with a set of innate qualities that allows them to outperform their peers? Or can a successful salesperson be nurtured over time to develop the traits that add up to a star seller?

In a recent post we rounded up tips from top sales people including the importance of forging personal connections with customers and listening first, selling second.

In this post, we look at what experts call the traits of successful salespeople. If nature didn't deal you a strong hand, time to work on nurturing those must-have qualities.

Seven for Success

After interviewing 1,000 top salespeople at global business leaders, sales expert Steve W. Martin identified seven traits that he says define successful salespeople. See how you stack up.

Modesty: Turns out that glad-handing, over-the-top salespeople only succeed in movies. Customers prefer a more modest approach, one that puts their needs front-and-center, rather than a salesperson's over-the-top efforts.

Conscientiousness: Top performers are driven by a sense of responsibility and duty. They are detail-oriented and feel an obligation to do their best work and care about the results they provide for their customers.

Achievement Orientation: No surprises here; top sellers are driven to succeed. Many top sellers played sports and carry a sense of drive and competition with them into their careers. They get results because they expect results.

Curiosity: Inquiring minds do more than want to know: they seal the deal more often than not. When an effective salesperson trains a curious mind on a customer, they can unearth information that helps sell solutions to their client, this closing the deal.

Lack of Gregariousness: Again, glad-handling and over-the-top friendliness can get on the way of a sales pitch. Salespeople that remain professional and dispassionate can better finesse a transaction than a salesperson that has become too personally connected to a customer or who is hamstrung by their need to be liked.

Lack of Self-Consciousness: Top salespeople are less likely to feel bashful or embarrassed than their counterparts. A lack of self-consciousness makes it easier to cold call or push to close a deal.

For more on the personal qualities of successful sellers, read Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople. 

What qualities make a successful salesperson in your book? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.


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