About Expert
C+Charge Prognose
Latest Issue
Subscribe FREE
Search for Speakers
Trainers and Consultants

Article Archive
Resource Directory
Expert Infomercials

Send this article to others


Seven Qualities of Great Sales Professionals

By Drew Stevens CPSP

Sales professionals are very similar to athletes; they love the thrill of victory and abhor the agony of defeat. Sales professionals try their best to thwart competitive threats so that they service their customers well and meet revenue expectations.

However, there are numerous sales professionals representing hundreds of thousands of companies. And there are millions of home based businesses-they too sell products to clients. Many are professionals and just as many are not. What is it then that separates the successful representative or business owner from the rest of the field?

Based on my 20 years of sales, sales management and sales training, I can narrow it down to seven, yes only seven common traits. These seven concepts are the ones that help establish presence, professionalism and perfection and can help place large amounts of commission and revenue dollars in the bank.

If you possess these traits they will help you grow your business and place you on the road to financial freedom.

1. They have a passion for selling Which do you believe gets more results an energized sales representative or business owner or a monotone, practical person?  

Love what you do, love the product you are selling and love the people you sell with. If you don't, then get out. If you don't like what you sell, prospects will read right through you and think, "Why should I buy from someone who is not passionate about what they say or do?" Your energy and enthusiasm come through on each and every call, if you are dispassionate, you will not ask the right questions, you will not read the buying signs, hear objections and importantly will not make any money.

2. They have high energy.  No one likes a monotone sales professional. People enjoy working with people that are fun interactive and entertaining. I am not saying that a sales professional has to perform magic tricks but they must know how to engage potential clients.

You engage by being enthusiastic, by loving your audience and loving your product. Once you embrace these vital issues you can sell anything to anybody. The world of selling is a roller coaster; do not get discouraged by the peaks and valleys of selling. Remain enthusiastic and you will only see the top of the peaks.

3. They are self starters.   One of the very first training courses that I ever ran, I handed out cards to all the attendees. The card stated that the holder is now named CEO of his/her desk and territory. The CEO (Chief Enterprising Officer) is responsible for providing revenue, meeting quota and obtaining new clients in any manner they deem appropriate.

Sales professionals that do not need hand holding and understand how to operate without much direction are typically the most successful.   Sales professionals that are CEO's operate their territory similar to an SBU (Small Business Unit). They understand how to make profit, how to accommodate for loss, how to watch expenses and how to get the job done without direction and much advice. These sales professionals  are entrepreneurial in spirit and in motion.

4. They are proud and excited about being with their company and products. Customers love to purchase products from people who are interested, involved and motivated to achieving long lasting success and resolving their business issues. Do you want to buy a product from uninterested sales professional?

And, customers want to be educated about the products that they intend to purchase. What motivates buyers are energetic and knowledgeable that know the industry, know the product and know the competitors.

The enthusiasm expressed here is based on a system that I teach entitled "The Knows." You must know what you can and cannot commit to. Never lie, never cheat and never ever over-commit. In order to succeed your must KNOW how far you can go, based on how much you KNOW about your product and customer. If you never KNOW, the only sound you will ever here is NO!

5. They understand the sales process.  Graduates of Dale Carnegie, Sandler, Wilson Learning or a graduate of my sales course, recognize that a sale is a process. Successful sales professionals understand that you need to know how to conduct the following:

  • Prospect

  • Qualify

  • Provide Interest

  • Gain Conviction

  • Conduct Demonstrations

  • Handle Objection

  • Know how to close

When you understand the process, a sale and a prospect becomes easier to understand. Destination recognition in the process enables successful sales professionals plan better strategy and close more sales. Yes, this step is part of the planning step mentioned earlier in the article. As you go through the sales maze it becomes much easier when you understand the which area you are presently in to assist you in getting closer to the end.

6. They are confident.   I mentioned to you earlier that the world of sales is similar to life on a roller coaster. You most know how to ride the peaks and valleys of success and failure. Doing so requires you to be confident in your abilities, confident in your product and confident in your company and its support.

Confidence is the ability to suffer through all of your trials and tribulations. Confidence is maintaining focus, sticking to your plan and measuring your goals. The more confident you are in your team, in your abilities and in your product the better you can be at delivering superb and exceedingly important client support.

7. They do their homework.   Successful sales professionals do not make excuses. They do not ask the marketing department to advertise for them and they do not ask someone to make new calls for them. Good sales professionals understand how to be a detective. They know how, where and when to find customers. They do not banter, barter or babble, they remain focused in their mission to achieve success.

So where do successful people go to find new customers, how about their present customers? First you must get a copy of the annual report. Read the information to determine what type of products the client is developing. Understand the competitive landscape and how your product or service can thwart competition. Learn about the competitors for new business opportunities.

When you obtain the report, read the president's message, the financial information and lines of business, Try to understand where your products fit within the organization's umbrella. You might discover a new area that can benefit from your service. Second, look at the firm's WEB site and review it for updates to the annual report, look for business climate changes. And, look for the anomalies in business so that your product or service can resolve the issues. Finally, ask your current contacts. It baffles me that over 92% of average sales people never ask for a referral. However, 98% of successful sales professionals always do.

Read the newspapers and press releases for the most current business information. Determine from your readings how your service or product can assist potential clients during good times and bad. Further, it is imperative to use the most widely accessible resource at your fingertips-the Internet. There are voluminous resources available such as www.factiva.com, http://interactive.wsj.com/, and www.nytimes.com. And the numerous portals such as Alta Vista and Yahoo are constantly providing real time business content. Review any of these sites to gain quick and up to the moment access on your prospects.

The sales person that does their homework and studies the customer and the changing landscape will learn how to quickly adapt to market conditions by finding solutions to customer issues. By becoming one with the customer and understanding their respective business you become a reliable business partner for today, tomorrow and well into the foreseeable future.


These seven qualities are only a fraction of the characteristics of successful sales professionals. However, by becoming more cognizant of the most popular, you can begin to invoke them into your daily habits. When you begin to recognize and emulate these habits, true rewards will come. Remember, Andy Warhol once stated everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, however it is my hope and intention that by using these characteristics you will be successful every day of your sales career.

Good selling.

Action Plan:   Pick three of these traits today, become comfortable in their use and begin to monitor your sales success.

Drew Stevens works with individuals and organizations that strive to increase revenue and build morale for better productivity. Drew is a contributing editor of Sales and Marketing Excellence, North County News and is seen weekday's on Charter Communications "See Hear." Contact Drew today at 877-391-6821 or email him at [email protected] and receive your free copy of "12 Important Sales Questions."

Send this article to others
Reader feedback
top of page

All articles & website Expert Magazine