What They Possess
There isn't one absolute set of traits that works in every situation, simply because different industries require different skillsets. However, there are some common traits that seem to be in most successful salesperson’s repertoire – they're competitive, self-motivated, independent, disciplined, and organized. They also possess excellent listening, questioning, and presentation skills with customers and prospects alike. When objections are communicated at any time during the sales process, the over-achieving salesperson will confidently handle the objection. Once handled, they have the ability and skills to know when and how to close the prospect for business.
Competition is what drives most salespeople to be their best. And it’s not just competition with their peers, even though that is very important. It’s an internal competitive drive to be perceived by others as the best at what they do. And, if not they’re not perceived as being the best, they will search for ways to learn as much as they can to gain the upper hand. Seminars, workshops, and DVDs that provide sales information are regularly purchased or attended by these people. They are always looking for something to give them an edge over their competition.
Salespeople like to call their own shots. From arranging sales calls, to prospecting for new customers, independence is an important trait. The standard 9:00 am to 5:00 pm routine does not appeal to them. Having to be in the same place, at the same time, each and every day, typically doesn’t work well for the high-achieving salesperson. Being able to make their own decisions about when to come in the office or how often to report to managers, are activities they want control over. The bottom line is the bottom line, to them. As long as the salesperson hits quota, then these other business activities become more variable and less critical in relation to achieving sales every month; unless of course sales managers insist they sell onsite such as in a car dealership or art gallery atmosphere.
Since they require more independence, the successful salesperson is very disciplined when it comes to schedules, prospecting activities, follow-up information, customer calls, capturing information, preparing proposals, keeping current on trends and business information. Being self-disciplined is a key characteristic of successful sales people.