The International Language of Selling - Characteristics of Top Sales Performers

Posted on 08/28/2008 in Selling Skills

How Do You Describe a Top Sales Performer?

I’ve made some recent business trips to Canada and Ireland, and found it fascinating to hear sales managers and sales professionals from those countries describe their best sales performers. Interestingly, the comments did not differ significantly from what we’ve heard in the U.S.  Granted, Canada and Ireland are culturally similar to America, but I have also heard similar comments in prior trips to Asia, Europe, and South America.

Two of the most common recurring descriptions for Top Performing Salespeople:

  • Less talking, more listening - The skills of questioning and listening are universally valued by customers, and cited by sales managers as a characteristic of their top performers.
  • Results-oriented - The best salespeople want to win, and focus their time and attention on winning the right accounts.
In many of my sales training workshops, after facilitating a discussion about the characteristics of top salespeople, I cite research from a book I recommend, Discover Your Sales Strengths. Authors Benson Smith and Tony Rutigliano studied the characteristics of thousands of salespeople.  Two significant findings indicate that the best salespeople consistently "discover and solve customer needs” (by asking more and better questions) and "impact others to say yes” (to get results).