Do You Have the Traits of a Top Seller?

BY Kathy Crosett
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You can’t choose your basic personality, but you can copy the traits of people you admire, especially the top sellers in your company. All you have to do is figure out which of their habits will work for you, based on an analysis originally done by Steve Martin, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

Martin discovered that the most successful sellers do not rank high on the scale for being gregarious. While we think of top salespeople as having outgoing personalities, these folks don’t yearn to spend all of their time with others. It turns out many customers are turned off by a salesperson who comes on too strong. If you are pushing yourself to be over friendly with a tough prospect, back off a bit. Remember that your key goal in this situation is to ultimately dominate the customer – get him to say yes to your proposal. To do that, you need to listen more closely and tailor your advice and recommendations to what he’s looking for.

In his study, Martin also found that top sellers are optimistic. Not surprisingly, his survey revealed that having a highly competitive personality is linked to being a successful seller. After experiencing the loss of a prospect or key account, a top salesperson doesn’t wallow in sadness or rejection. Instead, he gets back out there and tries harder until he scores a win. If you’ve played team sports, draw on that energy when you’re selling. Remember the pep talk your coach gave you and the enthusiasm of team mates as you all worked toward a common goal. You can use that attitude to consistently remain optimistic.

There’s no substitute for being conscientious. This aspect of professional life isn’t limited to sales. If you want to get ahead and succeed, you have to take your job seriously. It’s no secret that many businesses hire folks with military backgrounds to be their top sellers. Why? Because these folks have been trained to focus on the mission and believe the daily outcome is a matter of life or death. You don’t have to be that obsessed about the outcome of the sale you are trying to make, but you do have to give it your best shot. Make sure to stay on top of what the customer’s asking for and try to stay in control of the sales cycle by paying attention to the details.

To learn about the other aspects of a successful salesperson’s daily approach to work, read the rest of Martin’s analysis. Figure out which of these actions apply to your personality and then make a plan to achieve top seller status.