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  • That Winning Personality

    “Not all salespeople are successful. Why do some salespeople succeed where others fail? Evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success.”

    What does it take to be a superstar salesperson?

    What common characteristics do we see in the top performers?

    After doing years of research, Steve W. Martin, author of “Heavy Hitters Sales Psychology: How to Penetrate the C-level Executive Suite and

    Courtesy: PhotoXpress Free Images

    Convince Company Leaders to Buy,” has some deep insights into what makes salespeople effective.

    Over the past decade,” Martin says, “I have had the privilege of interviewing thousands of top business-to-business salespeople who sell for some of the world’s leading companies. I’ve also administered personality tests to 1,000 of them. My goal was to measure their five main personality traits to better understand the characteristics that separate them their peers.”

    In “Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople,” Martin’s recent article in Harvard Business Review, he shares some of those valuable insights.

    Although everyone has their own unique style and approach, there are certain traits that actually make salespeople more persuasive. A few of them are the opposite of what many of us might think.

    According to his studies, top salespeople are generally

    1. Modest
    2. Conscientious
    3. Achievement-oriented
    4. Curious
    5. Dominant (as opposed to sociable or friendly)
    6. Competitive (not easily discouraged)
    7. Aggressive (not easily embarrassed or self-conscious)

    Not all salespeople are successful. Given the same sales tools, level of education, and propensity to work, why do some salespeople succeed where others fail? Is one better suited to sell the product because of his or her background? Is one more charming or just luckier? The evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success.

    Self-examination time. Which of these characteristics do you see in yourself? In your colleagues or subordinates?

    My own personal experience would be pretty close to those discussed in Martin’s article. A few distinctives that I would add:

    • The best salespeople have a clear (but constantly evolving/improving) definition of their customers, and they understand what “makes them tick”
    • They know the value of time, and seek to maximize every moment
    • They measure and test to see what works best. They’re not married to any approach, and they’re quick to throw away what doesn’t achieve the results they want.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this subject.


    Filed Under: Career


    About the Author: Donnie Bryant is a direct response copywriter and marketing consultant. He specializes in improving businesses' sales and profitability by creating compelling marketing messages and strategies. Find out more about Donnie at http://donnie-bryant.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @donniebryant and connect with him on Google Plus at +donniebryant.

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