Sales people are a unique breed. There are certain personality traits that make people ideal sales professionals. Even within the sales industry, there are certain traits that are common with top sales performers.
A new study has identified the key traits that separate sale reps who regularly achieve sales quotas and those who struggle to close and meet sales targets. Here are the key findings of the study:
- High-performing salespeople communicated at the 11th to 13th grade levels
- 84% of top-performing salespeople are able to consistently crush their sales goals because they rank highly on achievement orientation
- Almost two-thirds of high-performing sales reps actually fell on the pessimistic side of the spectrum
- High-performing reps were more likely to rate their sales organization’s morale and standards of accountability higher than underperformers
Personality Traits of Top Sales People
High performing sales reps tend to share similar personality traits, but they may not be what you expect. Based on his research and interviews with thousands of sales reps, Steve W. Martin outlines 7 traits of top sales reps in Harvard Business Review:
91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. They are more likely to position the team (rather than themselves) as the centerpiece of the solution.
85% of top salespeople had high levels of conscientiousness. They take responsibility for results and take their job seriously.
3. Achievement oriented:
84% of the top performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are goal oriented and have a desire to achieve at a highest level.
82% of top salespeople scored extremely high curiosity levels. They are inquisitive and will press clients by asking difficult questions to get answers and learn more about prospects.
5. Lack of gregariousness:
Top performers averaged 30% lower gregariousness than below average performers, meaning they have less reliance on developing friendly relationships and are more business focused.
6. Lack of discouragement:
Less than 10% of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement. With people saying no more than yes, it can be easy to be discouraged. Top sales reps understand that rejection is part of the sales process and don’t take it personally. They are competitive and take resistance as a challenge.
7. Lack of self-consciousness:
Less than 5% of top performers had high levels of self-consciousness. They are more aggressive and are willing to work toward their cause, even when faced with pushback.
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Gabrielle is a Wilfrid Laurier University graduate with a degree in Business Administration. She has a background in both sales and marketing, with experience working in the technology, education, and travel sectors.
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