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Thing 3, Know Yourself

January 24, 2019

There is lots of research on the sales personality and habits of successful sales persons if you want to look for it. From my experience in being a successful sales person and sales leader, and interacting with hundreds of sales organizations and hundreds and hundreds of sales persons over the years, here are some of the common personality traits and habits of high performing sales professionals I have observed:


  1. Ego strength. They do not fear rejection.  They’ll step out of their comfort zone and take risks and they bounce back quickly from failure or rejection.

  2. They learn from the past, but don’t dwell there. Failure is a valuable lesson for them! Make the mistake, learn from it and move on (and they’re willing to repeat the process~~~ but not the same mistake!).

  3. They are competitive. They are assertive, confident and firm in one on one negotiations. They don’t bully, they effectively persuade others to their point of view. However, they usually play well with others in the sandbox! Winning is very important to them.

  4. They are sociable, and often humorous in a genuine way, but they don’t have a high need for approval from others! They are interesting, because they are interested (read Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People, a simple book using simple language with a very powerful message that helps achieve great and authentic interpersonal outcomes. You can’t fake sincerity~~ or at least for very long!).

  5. They are goal oriented~~ driven by (written) goals that often exceed their assigned quotas. They ‘begin with an end in mind’! They know what will make them successful, they refine their technique, then apply it with a certain amount of flair, style and consistency! They rarely ‘wing it’. They come prepared. They embrace change as an inevitable part of progress. 

  6. They won’t settle for mediocre~~ EVER~~ but nor do they go for perfection. They strive for excellence in all they do~~ their level of excellence! They know their strengths, and they leverage them. They are keenly aware of their weaknesses, and they mitigate them. They are introspective, but not self-obsessed or self-absorbed!

  7. They have a strong sense of urgency and manage time well (more on managing time in a later post). They really value their time, and the time of others.

  8. They truly believe in themselves, their product, their company and not only do they have an ability to help their prospects and clients~~ they have a passion for it.

  9. They are curious. They read, they learn, they are students of sales and subject matter experts (SME’s) in the industries and markets they serve. They ask great questions! They always know their stuff! That curiosity often goes hand and hand with creativity (more on this in an upcoming post). 

  10. They are constant and consistent, reliable and honest with just enough skepticism (not cynicism) to have the right amount of doubt to resist accepting everything they are told at face value. This makes them thorough They are great (active) listeners! They always ‘seek first to understand, and then be understood’. They ask great questions (deliberately repeated!)


Now, please substitute the word ‘they’ (and other third person plural pronouns as applicable) with the word I (same pronoun adjustment) and read the article over again. When the words describe you, they will feel natural to you and your style and you will identify with the traits/habits described and feel good about it. Build on these strengths! When you get a mental ‘oh, wait a minute, that’s not me!’, don’t despair. All of these things can be learned. It’s all part of the art and science of selling (and living, for that matter).


Our personality drives behavior.


Repeated behavior forms habits. YOU can choose to drive behaviors not hard wired in your DNA and form new habits. You can create a blueprint of change. There’s lots of resources to help you find the pathway to change. This should lead you to three questions that I often ask myself: What should I STOP doing, what should I START doing, and what should I do MORE OF? It’s not easy, but it is rewarding!  Not sure how? Ask me!


Next post, Thing Four ~~~~~  ‘Build Your Brand’.


This is the third in a series of 10 articles on the traits and habits of highly successful; sales professionals. Please consider providing some feedback by leaving a comment. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read future articles, please consider following me on LinkedIn.

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