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Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople

Source If you ask an extremely successful salesperson, "What makes you different from the average sales rep?" you will most likely get a less-than-accurate answer, if any answer at all. Frankly, the person may not even know the real answer because most successful salespeople are simply doing what comes naturally. Over the past decade, 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 (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and negative emotionality) to better understand the characteristics that separate them their peers. The personality tests were given to high technology and business services salespeople as part of sales strategy workshops I was conducting. In addition, tests were administered at Presidents Club meetings (the incentive trip that top salespeople are awarded by their company for their outstanding performance). The responses were then categorized by percentage of annual quota attainment and classified into top performers, average performers, and below average performers categories. The test results from top performers were then compared against average and below average performers. The findings indicate that key personality traits directly influence top performers' selling style and ultimately their success. Below, you will find the main key personality attributes of top salespeople and the impact of the trait on their selling style. Modesty. Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Furthermore, the results suggest that ostentatious salespeople who are full of bravado alienate far more customers than they win over. Selling Style Impact: Team Orientation. As opposed to establishing themselves as the

10 Behaviors of Unsuccessful People

Everyone aspires to be successful, but only a select few really reach that point where they can celebrate big--and even little--successes in their professional careers. How do you avoid the pitfalls and detrimental behaviors most common among unsuccessful people? It's easier than you think to squander opportunities and slip into inaction. To help you avoid making those mistakes, check out these 10 behaviors of unsuccessful people. 1. Procrastinating. One of the biggest challenges we face every day, especially as entrepreneurs, is the reluctance to take the first step. This happens with everything from simple daily activities to projects that are part of a major goal. A chief cause of procrastination is that one or more tasks can appear overwhelming. The single best way to overcome this is to break every project down into smaller bites that are easier to digest and tackle--then do them one at a time. As Gary Keller wrote in his book The One Thing, "It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in the world." If you can't do that, and you continue to procrastinate, you'll never be successful. 2. Blaming. When unsuccessful people don't get what they want, they play the blame game. They refuse to accept responsibility for their mistakes or the fact that they made their own choices. It's easier to attribute their lack of success to things outside of their control. Successful people don't do this; they own up to their mistakes. They know they're going to fail, and they embrace the possibility, because they know they're going to learn from it and do better next time. 3. Making Assumptions. People make assumptions when they don't fully understand a situation. It's natural for our brains to try to fill in the blanks and make up a narrative so that people and situations make sense. The problem

8 Ways Smart People Use Failure to Their Advantage

One of the biggest roadblocks to success is the fear of failure. Fear of failure is worse than failure itself because it condemns you to a life of unrealized potential. A successful response to failure is all in your approach. In a study recently published in theJournal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that success in the face of failure comes from focusing on results (what you hope to achieve), rather than trying not to fail. While it's tempting to try and avoid failure, people who do this fail far more often than those who optimistically focus on their goals. "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." --Winston Churchill This sounds rather easy and intuitive, but it's very hard to do when the consequences of failure are severe. The researchers also found that positive feedback increased people's chances of success because it fueled the same optimism you experience when focusing solely on your goals. The people who make history--true innovators--take things a step further and see failure as a mere stepping stone to success. Thomas Edison is a great example. It took him 1,000 tries to develop a light bulb that actually worked. When someone asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he said, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." That attitude is what separates the successes from the failures. Thomas Edison isn't the only one. J. K. Rowling's manuscript for Harry Potterwas only accepted after 12 publishers denied it, and even then she was only paid a nominal advance. Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a Baltimore news anchor for becoming too emotionally involved in her stories, a quality that became her trademark. Henry Ford lost

7 Reasons Sales People Fail

Sales is undoubtedly a tough job. Out of the thousands of sales representatives, only 40 percent will consistently hit their sales targets, while the other 60 percent will fail to close deals. There's no doubt that there are great sales professionals and mediocre ones. But what differentiates them? Why do some sales people succeed while others fail? Here are some of the reasons why some reps just can't close deals. 1. Poor Listening Skills New and mediocre sales people will simply do sales presentations instead of determining what their prospects actually want and why. Their sole focus is on "pitching" their offerings to clients. They think that if they drill down hard enough and push hard enough, they'll get the sale. But all this leads to is resentment. Prospects feel disrespected and neglected when it's clear that the sales rep only cares about the sale, and not their needs. The best sales pros have great listening skills. They listen to the needs of the clients: their pain points, their desires, their objections, and their concerns. They ask the right probing questions and actively listen to the answers, which offer insights into the prospects' wants and desires. Through active listening, they can then better meet their clients' needs, while also making them feel cared for and valued at the same time. 2. Poor Organizational Skills Sales reps with poor organizational skills will not only have trouble generating new business but will also likely end up losing business because of poor follow-up and follow-through. There is a tremendous amount of research to do in sales. The best sales professionals understand that they need to know their prospects, their businesses, their competition, and their industry inside and out. And they take the time to learn this information ahead

The Leadership Jigsaw

Don't have a free agent attitude. You must be accountable for your actions. You must be accountable to someone and for something. You need to find alignment with a cause or be the cause. You need to submit. You need to be connected to someone. You need to find position in an authority and adhere to the common cause and vision. There is no middle ground-either you in or out. Everyone is moving in the same direction. Against me or for me. People are at the side of you, behind you, front of you. You need to cover their back. There is a need for transparency, humility , responsibility, accountability. No place for selfish desires.