What Do the Top 5% of Salespeople Do Best? It’s 5 Traits

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How Do I Become One? How Do I Find One?

In 1956, Walter Clarke, an industrial psychologist built the first personality profile test based on a book written in 1928 by William Moulton Marston titled Emotions of Normal People.

Marston’s theory is what led Clarke to build the DISC profile assessment for personnel selection by businesses, which centers on four behavioral traits:

  • Dominance
  • Inducement,
  • Submission
  • Compliance

In my learning, I was told there was a large investment made by the insurance industry to try and determine the best personality type for hiring salespeople who would be most suited to work on 100% commission.

The interesting result of this, from what I have observed having trained over 20,000 business owners, sales leaders, and sales professionals, is that this tool is not a predictor of what makes a great sales person.

The DISC theory is still important to understand in sales and working with customers, and it is a great tool for recognizing how to be successful as a sales champion.

I found possessing the following five traits to be the key for truly thriving in the sales industry.

Here are five traits to truly thrive in the sales industry

1.  Ganas

Great sales people in my experience have one thing in common as a Hispanic business owner I can best describe as the Spanish word “Ganas!” The literal translation for the word is “desire” or “to feel like” doing something.

However, in my experience, when you find a salesperson with real “Ganas,” they have that willingness you only find in people who are “willing to pay the price,” “do whatever it takes,” and have more of a “burning desire.”

They will put themselves through nights without sleep, sacrifice personal time with family, and even sometimes risk their own well being to succeed. It is like the spirit and commitment of a champion that will drive people to produce success, and in the case of the best salespeople they all have “Ganas!”

2.  Commitment

I have experienced this type of burning desire that must also be combined with the unbreakable commitment to achieve. In our conversations with salespeople on prospecting and follow-up, we talk about “Making it a Habit.”

The very best salespeople spend up to 50% of their time working everyday on prospecting and follow-up. They understand that being more invested in developing their existing customers will turn out to be much more profitable in the end, especially when it comes to their own commitment to taking care of customers who have already bought from them.

Both businesses and salespeople are learning the value of being committed to retaining customers. The very best will focus on building loyalty from their own customers by taking great care of them and turning them into raving fans so that referrals will come easily.

3.  Discipline

Discipline is often the differentiator between being good and being great. In our training, we talk about “doing it every day.”

The very best make no excuses and separate time to work on all of their tasks for successful selling, where others will provide excuses about how they are doing their daily tasks that enable them to produce the sales success they should be achieving. Daily discipline is very hard to achieve, but the very best exercise this.

5.  Passion

Do you love what you do?

When customers hear you talk about what you sell, do they get it?

Are they impressed?

Is how you feel about your offering coming from your heart with a willingness to help, or is it coming across as you just wanting to sell?

The best are fanatics! I was once accused of being too fanatical about what I was selling, and they meant that to be an insult. The very best know their competition, know their customer, understand how to sell, and most importantly have a real passion for what they have to offer. When they are asked how they feel about what they sell, they provide information with real conviction.

Not only do they have a passion for what they sell, they have a genuine desire for helping their clients. I know a local company who is very successful at carpet cleaning.

They are so successful in what they do, that they are tasked to clean rugs that in many cases are valued at more than $100,000. Understand we are talking about a carpet cleaner; yes, a carpet cleaner who takes what they do to another level. Recently in my own home, they followed up 6 months after providing us service to check in and see if any stains had resurfaced because they were concerned.

Who does this?

The answer is people with a real passion for what they do and how they serve their customers.

How do I become or find a top 5% performer?

Salespeople can learn about products and services to sell, they can be taught techniques on how to sell, but those with the character qualities of Ganas, Commitment, Discipline, and Passion are the ones that will rise to the top.

Am I suggesting that the easy solution is to find these individuals if you are the business looking for one? No not all.

These individuals also need to be led and supported in a sales environment that makes them want to perform this well. Great sales managers are also great coaches who are constantly making their team better by ensuring they cover all of the bases to make their entire sales team more successful.

Related articles:

Follow-Up Is the Key Sales Criteria

3 Critical Sales Techniques and Why Customers Believe It’s Critical to Buying Decisions

Winning Customers In the American Food Revolution

How to Sell More Customers


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