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If You Had These 30 Attributes, You Would Be the Best Salesperson in the World

10 min read
May 8, 2019

Want a blueprint for how to become the best salesperson in the world? Or how about a yardstick by which to measure your leadership abilities? The good news is that you don’t need a career counselor or full 360 to get that additional insight.

All you need is to be self-aware.

Be honest with yourself about where you’re really strong and where you can struggle. It’s okay not to be great at everything! You can use it to become a better, more well-rounded sales professional. The ability to be self-aware is an invaluable skill that will serve you throughout your career.

Tony Hughes explores the 30 best qualities to have in sales in his book, The Joshua Principle.  We’ve expanded on them below with 30 questions to ask yourself to self-assess.

1. Persistence

Do you keep on going in spite of opposition, obstacles, and discouragement?

Gaining traction in an account takes persistence. There’s a reason it’s listed first here – persistence is the main ingredient for sales success. Studies have shown that it takes at least 8 touches in a sales process to reach a prospect.

Vince Lombardi on winning

2. Honesty

Are you honorable in your principles, intentions, and actions?

The empathy-lacking, money-hungry stereotype of a salesperson doesn’t work in 2019. Buyers are looking for someone who will be a trustworthy partner and help them find a solution that addresses a particular pain point.

3. Confidence

Do you have a strong belief and full assurance in yourself?

Much like dogs can smell fear, prospects can smell a lack of confidence. Confidence isn’t arrogance. It’s a belief in your offering and the value it can add to your buyer’s organization. Managing objections in a way that transfers confidence to your prospect.

4. Fun

Do you provide your clients with amusement, enjoyment, and playfulness?

Sales is a fun profession. You get to meet with people all day long and help them find solutions to their problems. Share that with them! There’s no need for a sales interaction to be boring. Discovering a solution is fun and exciting – for both parties.

5. Teachability

Are you capable of continually being taught by your clients, your company, and your profession?

Study after study will tell you that lifelong learning is critical for success. It can be easy to fall into a routine and find yourself going through the motions. When you find yourself doing that, do something to inspire growth – find a conference, have a drink with your mentor, or sit down with a customer to talk about what they’re seeing in the market. You’ll both be better for it!

6. Work Ethic

Do you believe in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character?

A strong work ethic and the standards behind the work are necessary for long-term success. Sales is a funny profession – not many of us set out to be in sales. Even fewer of us went to school for it. Being exceptional requires sweat equity and – much like Tiger – sheer drive.

7. Passion

Are you able to express your feelings of excitement clearly and confidently to prospects and clients?

If you aren’t passionate about your solution and how it can benefit a prospect or customer, how can you expect them to get excited? Moreover, why would you want to sell a thing you don’t believe in? Tap into what turned you on to your company on day one, and transfer it to your prospects.

8. Team Player

Do you willingly work and cooperate with other sales reps and disciplines?

Being a team player ties into every other point on this list. When you work with your team, you are inspired to learn more and do more. They are your people, your tribe… and you need them to succeed. In the words of Michael Jordan, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

9. Accountability

Are you capable of answering for your choices and decisions?

I’m sure we all got tired of hearing about it growing up, but taking responsibility for your actions – accountability – is critical to any relationship. Accountability is good for your own development, your team dynamics, and for your customer relationships.

10. Friendly

Are you kind and helpful in every sales relationship and supportive of your team?

Let’s be real – part of your job in sales is getting people to like you. Who would buy from someone they didn’t like? Who would help a teammate that was a jerk? People like friendly people.

11. Discipline

Are you capable of following a routine and keeping people on track?

One of the fun parts about sales is the freedom you have in your day. Don’t confuse that with a lack of discipline. There are a lot of ebbs and flows in the sales process, but with discipline (and proper planning), you can turn those ups and downs into consistent success. Execute your cadence, follow up when you say you will, and you won’t have that “oh man… it’s the end of the quarter, and I’m wayyyy behind on quota” feeling of regret.

12. Optimism

Do you expect favorable outcomes and work towards them in every sale?

It sounds cheesy, but there is power in positive thinking. We even called out being “competitively optimistic” in a post on ways to be a successful Account Executive. In short, winners don’t win by giving energy to the thought that they might lose.

13. Empathy

Can you easily understand buyer’s situations and help solve their problems?

Don’t underestimate the role of empathy in finding the right solution for a prospect. Today’s buyers are more independent than ever but are willing to give time to sellers who are empathetic and informed about their business needs.

14. Competitive Spirit

Do you have a strong desire to succeed and outperform your competition?

Business is no different than sports in that they’re both driven by healthy competition. Like an athlete, the drive the salespeople have to always be working towards a win enables success. Don’t get complacent and forget to feed it.

15. Stability

Can you provide consistency to your team and customers?

Have you ever heard the analogy about a duck looking peaceful on top of the water but below their feet are moving like mad to keep them going? Your customers should see the peaceful side of you that shows above the water. That consistent calm inspires confidence and trust.

duck paddling and calm

16. Energy

Are you full of energy and have the ability to translate that energy to your buyers?

Energy begets energy. Can you imagine watching a football game where the announcers weren’t screaming into the mics? It gets you fired up, too!

17. Vision

Do you have the perception to visualize new strategies and create new opportunities?

Visualization is a real thing. Jim Carrey is a great example. Before he was famous, he was flat broke. One day, he wrote a $10 million check to himself for acting services rendered and dated it Thanksgiving 1995. Five years later, he earned $10 million making the movie “Dumb and Dumber.” That’s the power of visualizing success.

18. Leadership

Do people naturally listen to you and follow what you say?

Are you the type of person who creates pressure? Or are you able to provide focus and energy? Being a leader means being able to encourage and inspire people to action.

19. Maturity

Are you able to handle difficult situations with ease and face pressure collectedly?

This isn’t the kind of maturity that comes with age. Emotional maturity is an important part of what enables managers to become leaders. Maturity in the context of leadership is what allows managers to put their team ahead of themselves.

20. Sincerity

Do you operate free of pretense or deceit and share your genuine feelings with your clients?

You can’t fake sincerity. Without sincerity and belief in your offering, there is no way to form trust during the sale process. Build lasting relationships by understanding your buyer and providing them with something they genuinely need.

21. Thorough

Do you have full command and mastery of your actions?

Don’t enter a meeting without having done your due diligence in advance. Being thorough demonstrates command of a subject, which inspires trust, helps you create value… and prevents mistakes.

22. Consistency

Are you capable of delivering quality results to your team time and time again?

It’s too easy to focus on quantity at the expense of quality. If you consistently deliver quality results, it gives everyone – your customers, your leaders, and your teammates – confidence in that you will continue to execute in a way that is best for all parties.

23. Listening Skills

Can you actively pay attention when others are speaking and respond to their needs appropriately?

There’s a world of difference between listening for your turn to speak and listening to understand. If you really listen, you can ask better, more insightful questions that demonstrate empathy and understanding.

Pretending to listen funny

24. Competence

Do you have the suitable skills necessary to adapt to a variety of scenarios?

Competence typically refers to the base-level skills required to do a job. It can also refer to competence in interacting with others. Does your attitude differentiate you as a leader?

25. Thoughtful

Do you show consideration for buyers to help them get value from your interactions?

Don’t fall into the trap of mindless action. Every buyer and every interaction is unique. Take the time to put some thought behind what they’re looking for and how you can personalize their experience.

26. Experience

Are you wise and skillful in each buyer conversation?

Experience is something to be leveraged in every conversation. Buyers are looking to you for guidance. Use past interactions and sales successes to provide best practices and words of wisdom that will help your current buyers.

27. Integrity

Do you adhere to ethical behaviors by striving to provide honest solutions to your prospects?

Professional integrity is arguably the most important asset you can possess. It should inform every action you take if you are to have lasting success.

28. Committed Mindset

Are you constantly engaged and self-motivated to achieve your business and personal goals?

None of these traits on this list are possible without commitment. The best, more respected leaders in history committed themselves to behave in a way that demonstrates all of these qualities.

29. Enthusiasm

Are you eager to come to work each day with a smile on your face regardless of current events?

Get excited about what you are doing, how you can help buyers, and the opportunities ahead of you. Enthusiasm is contagious. It’s a kind of fire-power that, when used wisely, motivates people and expands ideas.

30. Engagement

Are you deeply involved in conversations and able to identify the implicit needs of your clients?

Engagement consists of the various interactions we have all day long. Your level of engagement is up to you. Leaders will align every engagement they have with the qualities we’ve listed here to ensure interactions are of the highest quality possible.

Nobody in the world can be all these things at all times, but the best mimic them more than everyone else. Where can you improve? What can you do to get to the next level in your career?

Write down the areas you excel in and take a moment to congratulate yourself. Then, note the ones you need to improve upon most. Set a clear goal for each and seek help from a mentor or someone who demonstrates the quality in a way that you admire.

Also, check out this study about how top performing sales reps are getting it done.

Best Practices of Top Performing Sales Reps