I love being a sales coach, and I have had the privilege to work with many different types of salespeople over the years. I have seen who is effective and who is not. I see many who are great at different aspects of the selling process and fail miserably at others. Awareness of your strengths and shortfalls will determine your success as a salesperson.

Here is a list that I have complied for you of what successful salespeople have in common. Rate yourself on each one and then create a plan to make the necessary changes to improve.

1 Top performers don’t wait. They constantly take action.

They are proactive in prospecting, networking and the sales process. There is a big difference between being in motion and taking action. Emailing a warm lead with information about your company or product is being in motion. Closing the sale is taking action. The act of being in motion often makes us feel like we are taking action and keeps us from actually getting there. The difference is that successful salespeople give themselves a hard deadline that is not negotiable. This one act holds them accountable to take action and produce a meaningful result rather than just staying in motion by planning and strategizing.

2 Top performers are likeable. They have high emotional IQ.

They have great communication styles and they adapt their presentations to the prospect. This is critical. They don’t try to relate the same way to everyone. This never works. Some of us move quickly and make decisions instantly. Some are slow and move at a deliberate pace. There are some who want every detail of the product and others who want just the bottom line. In sales we have to meet the prospect no matter where they are with their thought paradigm, their values and their buying style. It is almost impossible to be successful and have a limited way of presenting information and closing the sale.

3 Top performers conduct effective sales calls. They own the entire sales process.

Sales calls are often ineffective because the salesperson really forgets the purpose, the process and the flow of the meeting. During the meeting, it is absolutely necessary to find the needs and wants of the prospect, to uncover the potential problems that can be solved. Many salespeople confuse presenting with selling. They talk too much and don’t listen closely to the prospect. They don’t ask enough questions. Top performers articulate their thoughts at a digestible speed. They ask questions, they clarify what they say, they listen carefully to what is being said and they don’t jump to conclusions of what is motivating the prospect. Their questions help guide them and shape what they share.

4 Top performers have great account selection. They prospect brilliantly.

Not everyone is a great prospect. We all know that intellectually. Top performers know that they will connect with certain people. They know it and don’t waste their time trying to sell to everyone. They don’t wander aimlessly from one sales presentation to another.

They have a strategically selected, focused list of prospects. They put in the time and have effectively planned a marketing and outreach strategy to make sure that they are speaking to the right people. This is where their effort, time and focus go.

Even the most likeable and talented salesperson will not succeed if they get this one wrong.
Top performers have a very targeted market and they don’t change direction constantly when things go wrong. They figure out what they could differently when they don’t get the results that they want and make sure that they gain traction in the future.

5 Top performers have an optimistic outlook

Successful salespeople are optimistic. They fully expect to succeed and they take full responsibility for anything that happens to them. They want the best and don’t complain when things go wrong. Top performers keep going because they know deep inside that they will succeed. I have never met a pessimistic salesperson who succeeded.

I hope that this helps you identify some of your strengths and inspires you to improve the areas that may be a shortfall.

I originally wrote this article on How Winners Sell for Advisor Today.