Traits of the Top 1% of Salespeople

In every company that has a sales department, there are always a few salespeople that stand apart from the rest.  Year after year they are at the top, and just never seem to have their results waiver.  Those not at their level tend to think they are cheating, or that they are friends with the manager, or that they always get lucky.  But, really, is that the case? Definitely not.  The top 1% of salespeople have traits, habits, and skills that the rest of the 99% do not currently have, or do not implement.  So, if you are reading this, and thinking damn, thats me,  I am just always in the middle of the pack, you are in luck, there are things you can do to change.  Here are five traits of the 1%.

1. Control Your Time

Over the years, I have interviewed hundreds of people for sales jobs.  This question would come up often, “why do people fail here?”, my answer was and is always the same, “time management”.  You can have all the right skills, and be the right type of personality fit for sales, but if you cant manage your time, you will fail.  Grant Cardone, has a phrase that I love, “I make time”.  That is it, you must make time for what is important to keep you at the top of your game.  There are usually 3-5 priorities that you need to do every single day without fail, you must make time for these without exception.  Make a schedule and stick to it, no excuses.  A great read on helping you with this, is, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

2. Believe in What you are Selling 

This seems simple enough, but many, many salespeople do not believe in their product or service…and when you don’t believe, you aren’t going to convince anyone else that they need it.  It is completely transparent to your prospect that you don’t believe in it, by your tone, body language, shaky confidence, and your total lack of push back when they say No.  If you don’t believe in what you are selling, move on to selling something else you can get behind.

3. You have to be Hungry

The top 1% are not satisfied, ever.  The moment you become satisfied with your results will be the moment you just fall out of the top 1%.  Work ethic is everything in sales. What you might lack in talent can easily be made up for with a strong work ethic and a relentless pursuit of wanting to be the best at what you do every day.  If there is no fire in your belly,  you will never be a top-performer.

4. Having a High Emotional Intelligence

This trait tends to be an intitate gift for some of us but it can be learned.  Picking up cues in the tone of the voice, body language, and overall engagement are all ways you can watch to see if you are connecting with your prospect.  Understanding these subtle cues also lets you know how far you can push a prospect or when you need to follow back up or set another meeting.  Some people just can’t read others, if you are one of those people, the best place to start with learning this skill is to listen… not just hearing the words, but listening. Most salespeople ask the right questions and will even get the right answers, but they are consumed by their own thoughts of what they are going to say next that they totally misread their prospect. People with a high EQ make on average $29,000 more a year than those who do not. Pays to listen, literally.

5. Your Ability to Build Rapport

When I started off in sales many moons ago, I once had a sales manager tell me, “There are 7 billion people in the world, you have something in common with every single one of them, your ability to find your common interest will dictate how fast you can sell them.”  This isn’t about selling people, as much as it is about your ability to get on some common ground with another human being, so their guarded walls start to fall down, and they just start see you as another person, not as a “salesperson”.  The old adage, “people love to buy, but hate to be sold”, always sticks in the back of my mind.  Don’t make the assumption on a prospect based on how they look, speak or act, don’t think that you don’t have anything in common with them, you do, you just have to find it.  Maybe you are both fathers, maybe they like the same baseball team, or like the same music, or have traveled to the same vacation spot… there is a common interest, you just have to find it.




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