What Makes an ‘A’ Player in Sales?

What Makes an ‘A’ Player in Sales?

What is interesting about the sales profession is more people try sales, fail and then leave it than any other profession. Entry level is usually low and most people assume it requires little in the way of intelligence. Those who try the sales profession and fail discover it’s a tough industry and not one suited to the faint hearted. Most lack the vital desire and commitment. This is particularly true for those who work in the large corporate sector and ‘do sales’ for a year or two to progress their career opportunities. They soon learn that sales are different for the following core reasons:

• Every day you need to handle rejection and even hostility at times
• You have little or no control of the prospect or client’s behaviour
• Sales people are measured in every way from the number of sales calls they make to their conversion rates and margins
• Prospects are never the same, and you need to adapt to many different personality types quickly
• That you need to keep a positive outlook when facing problems
• You need self control – the skill to balance the pressure to achieve sales and grow client relationships

So what are the common traits of the most successful sales people? Based on research and our 20 years’ experience as developers of professional sales people the following attributes appear to be in the DNA of the most successful:
1. Desire
This is the passion for success, the inner fire that fuels and propels the sales person into action

2. Commitment
Demonstrated as their stick-ability, the ability to overcome obstacles and continue to head toward their target. These obstacles can be external such as competitor challenges or internal self doubt but they move forward regardless

3. Independence
The sales person is attracted to the freedom, the sense of being self employed. They like to be self sufficient and maintain full control over their activities; who to call on and when. Along with independence comes a dislike of rules and regulations which they tend to ‘stretch’ given a chance and so upset those who are in a supportive backup role. They also resist paperwork and avoid red tape. Successful sales people like other people, they enjoy being with them and delight in influencing but seldom care deeply whether others like them. This enables them not to fall prey to a need for approval or be timid.

4. Productivity
Top sales performers have a need to generate more sales, are energetic, enthusiastic and want to see tangible results for their effort. This energy may not always be shown overtly. Trade shows and conferences are therefore seen as a working holiday. They socialise with a purpose by connecting with individuals with whom they have something in common, whether it be business or some other personal pursuit that may result in a sale

5. Traditionalists
Contrary to what the average person may think about salespeople, such as they are impulsive and somewhat undisciplined, in reality most like routine and hate having it interrupted. They embrace structure and order. They don’t try unproven ideas simply because they are new and different. Radical ideas are rejected outright. They stick with what they know is tried and true even if it is dated. However once convinced about a fresh approach or idea, they will do whatever it takes to develop the new skill or mindset

6. Non Academic
This doesn’t mean sales people are not intelligent because they are. Their practical nature leans toward doing and not studying something they may never implement. They would prefer to spend time developing skills that will earn them income. Sales people are natural doers rather than reflective thinkers. This doesn’t mean they don’t evaluate what may have gone wrong during the sales call. They quickly work out what went wrong and why and then focus on what they will do the next time. They don’t agonise for hours

7. Opportunist
Top sales people are calm, relaxed people who thrive on challenges. They have more physical energy than most and in every sales activity they look for a way to get results. Satisfaction is derived from overcoming challenges. They capitalise on opportunities by beating the system to win sales which may at times upset the back office support team


Ashok is a Business & Marketing tips author of several publications of Banking and experiences in life. he is a regular contributor to online article sites on the topics of Sales allover the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *