Qualities highly successful salespeople
The leading myth about sales is that salespeople need to be slimy, pushy, and full of self-interest. The stereotypical thinking says that to land the sale we need to act unethically, put spin on our communications, and practice manipulation. Hey, lying is the virtue that rules and reigns in selling, right?
This kind of approach emphasizes doing whatever it takes. One’s commission percentage should govern best-selling practices, even if the customer loses. Tell them what they want to hear and deliver the inferior product that they don’t need. We need more short-term thinking, like that displayed by those infamous Three Stooges characters, “Dewey, Burnham, and Howe.”
However, this is not what Harvard research shows. It’s quite the opposite. According to researcher Steve W. Martin, personalities play an important role in determining sales success. For instance, in his study, 91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores for humility.
Well, humility is not a personality, it’s a character trait. It’s a proper appraisal of oneself and showing confidence and courage, regardless of our personality. We don’t feel the need to demonstrate superiority, or underrate ourselves either. We know who we are and are willing to improve.
Top salespeople have qualities, character traits, and attributes that drive great sales performance.
Here’s my list of essential qualities and attributes that one should look for when hiring. And equally and if not more important, leaders must invest in and develop their sales force in these vital sales behaviors and actions:
- Transparent motives
- Team player
- Gathers facts
- Follows through
- Handles pressure well
- Understands people
Previously, business leaders thought that we could only hire these kinds of qualities and attributes, because someone either has them or they don’t. As a result, many businesses have focused considerable effort on recruiting and vetting. However, after we hire, orient and train “the right person,” (and at great cost) we discover that they fall short in a number of key areas. But sometimes it’s too late. And, it’s disastrous, especially when we find out after “the 90-day probationary period.”
This is not uncommon. Why? Because no one is perfect. We all can improve.
The good news is that we can now develop these essential qualities and characteristics that lead to peak sales performance, with integrity, respect and transparency.
And we can measure improvements as well, by person and organizationally.
For instance, let’s take the character trait of “teachable.” How do you teach an individual who hates correction to be teachable?
That’s what we do together.