The Winning Traits of Top Sales Professionals
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Becoming a top sales professional is as much about personal growth as it is about sales tactics.

So, what distinguishes top-tier sales professionals from their average counterparts?

My explorations have led me to a compelling hypothesis: the subtle yet crucial differences may lie in the personality traits unique to each person.

It’s about understanding and genuinely caring about your client’s needs and challenges. By putting yourself in your client’s shoes, you can tailor your approach and solutions in a way that resonates deeply with your audience.

Empathy is essential for sales success because you need insight and understanding of client needs and motivations to deliver solutions of superior value. Viewing the world from your client’s perspective also helps cultivate common ground and strong interpersonal relationships.

Empathetic sales professionals who function in their client’s “Odds Are” will cultivate stronger, long-term relationships, gain greater influence, and develop superior solutions.

Sales is a career requiring great emotional strength, with rejection, setbacks, and failure an inevitable part of your day. How you cope with these challenges significantly impacts your long-term success. 

One consistent theme among the stories of ultra-successful people is the occurrence of setbacks and failures, suggesting that mental resilience and fortitude in the face of obstacles are big factors, if not the biggest factor, in ultimate success.

In the Forbes article, “Habits of Mentally Strong People, And How They Can Help You Succeed, author Jack Kelly reflects on the common habits of successful people, noting that they: 

  • Go to bed and wake up early – reflecting a proactive and energized mindset 
  • Understand that failing is a part of the process – keeping setbacks in perspective 
  • Don’t take it personally when things go wrong – casting challenges as temporary setbacks and not permanent roadblocks 
  • Stay focused on their end goals 
  • Never stop learning – reflecting a thirst for new ideas and insight, as well as open-mindedness 
  • Know when to say “no” to opportunities or activities that distract from their goals 

In sales, one size does not fit all. The best salespeople are masters of adaptive communication. You must adjust your communication style to suit your client’s personality and preferences.

This is where understanding your customer’s orientation is so vital – it shapes the direction and flow of your conversations and transactions.

Carew’s Customer Orientations (Buyer Personalities) – Security, Power, Affiliation, Actualization. Your customer’s orientation shapes the direction and flow of the sales transaction, so it is essential to know and understand the type of customer you are working with.

It is critical to understand that not all clients (and people) are the same, and having the ability to tailor your message as it relates to your client’s orientation is so critical.

Good listeners are garbage dumps; better listeners are recycling centers.

Active listening is about fully concentrating, understanding, and responding thoughtfully to what is being said, and helps you build trust and rapport with your clients.

By truly hearing and understanding your clients, you can offer solutions perfectly aligned with their needs.

Five basic and essential guidelines for developing active listening skills are:

  • Prepare in Advance – This frees your mind for listening and inspires confidence in yourself and your client.
  • Set the Climate for Listening – Make your customer feel comfortable and safe to express their true thoughts and feelings.
  • Receive the Message – Use good non-verbal skills and body language, maintain eye contact, and smile.  
  • Act in Supportive and Clarifying Ways – Be sure your client has communicated a complete message. Demonstrate interest, restate what your client is saying, ask questions!

When you are passionate, you are not just selling a product or service but sharing something you genuinely believe in.

Passion is the fuel that drives top salespeople and, really, anyone. Your enthusiasm and genuine belief in what you are selling is infectious.

Passion motivates salespeople to go the extra mile and inspires confidence in clients.

Top sales professionals are inherently curious. Have a thirst for knowledge, not just about your product or service but also about your clients and the market.

When you are curious, you have an active presence during sales calls. When you are curious, you ask difficult exploratory questions to help close your client’s Gaps.

Whether you’re a seasoned sales veteran or new to the profession (like me!), these traits can help you succeed and make a genuine impact in the lives of your clients.

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