Do you have the character and characteristics of sales success?

Do you have the character and characteristics of sales success?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Here is a list of sales success characteristics.

They represent the elements of what will make a salesperson successful.

But here’s the secret – before you make judgments about others and how they compare to the list, FIRST judge yourself. Measure yourself against the elements that make salespeople who they are, and successful at what they do. And for those of you who hire salespeople, this is a checklist of the real things to look for in a potentially successful person.

NOTE WELL: If you want to succeed, you and whoever you hire better be somewhere between 8 and 10 (on a 1-10 scale) on every one of these characteristics.

With that in mind, here’s a list of 13.5 individual characteristics that would make any person a “hire”able and “succeed”able salesperson (you included):

  1. Smart. Salespeople have to be smart enough to think on the spot, and deal with every kind of situation as it happens. CAUTION: Very experienced salespeople, who think they know everything, are most vulnerable to be beaten by a smart person with hustle.
  2. Self-Starting. Great salespeople don’t need “motivation.” They have a built in fire — that’s somewhere between a cup of Death Wish Coffee and a Red Bull. Nobody has to tell them what to do. They know what to do. And they do it. They make the first call of the day, and the last call of the day.
  3. Great Attitude. Great salespeople believe they will make every sale. Great salespeople take “no” as “not yet.” Great salespeople accept every lemon thrown at them by management, customers, and accounting — and use those lemons to open up a lemonade stand. A great salesperson is able to take everybody else’s crap, and somehow turn it into money.
  4. Excellent Communication Skills. Great salespeople are not “good” communicators. They’re great communicators. Their message is both compelling and transferable. Their passion and their belief system is as contagious as their enthusiasm. And they’re able to articulate in a way that gets customers to buy, more often than not.
  5. Physically and Mentally Fit. The statement speaks for itself and implies that you work out on a regular basis working your mind and your body. Exercising your mind and body before you get to work (push-ups and brain-ups) so that you feel good and that good feeling is projected every time you interact with a customer.
  6. Computer, Tablet and Smartphone Literate. There’s no excuse for a lack of computer literacy other than stubbornness and laziness. The internet will rule the economic world for at least the next decade. And those who ignore this fact will find themselves completely unemployable after they get fired from their present job.
  7. Focused and Intention Driven. Having a goal is a basic fundamental element. Intending to achieve it is the motive to achieve it. Having a plan is a basic fundamental element. Intending to implement it is the motive to put it into action. Keeping your eye on the prize and working towards it steadily is what separates those who do and those who don’t. “Goals without intention and focus,” is like an automobile without gasoline. It looks pretty, but it can’t get you anywhere. Intention is the fuel that will take you from where you are to your goal, your destination, to where you want to be.
  8. Dedicated to Succeeding. With great salespeople, it’s not just a matter of goals. It’s a matter of focus on outcome and achievement. Multiple achievements lead to success, and a self-confidence that keeps the momentum going from sale to sale.
  9. Past History of Success. Every time a great salesperson makes a sale, it remains in their self-confidence memory bank and can be called upon for positive energy in any situation. The more you succeed, the more your success is likely to continue.
  10. Looking for a Career, Not a Job. If a salesperson has a base salary and a commission, the job person wants a raise in their base pay. The career person wants a raise in their commission.
  11. More Interested in Personal Success and Personal Development, Than Money. Salespeople who work for money rarely achieve it. Great salespeople work to be their best, and dedicate themselves to that process daily. And as a result, earn tons.
  12. A Constant Student: Willing to Learn and Adapt. Great salespeople know there is always more to learn. They dedicate themselves to being better, being best. Great salespeople know that learning from their past allows them to adapt and be ready for new encounters and new challenges. It’s the difference between “already knowing everything” and “life-long learner.”
  13. Taking Joy in Serving Others. This is the “master” quality. One of the best salespeople I’ve ever known is John Ruhlin. He created and is the master of Giftology, and loves to serve.

13.5 A Great Social Presence and Reputation. Easier stated: “google-able” by you and any customer they might visit. They know social media, have a social understanding, and participate daily in learning, posting, and reputation building.

Notice one characteristic missing? Sales skills. I’d rather have attitude and brains than selling skills any day. I can teach someone to sell. I can’t teach them to be smart or happy.

Easier answer. Compare these qualifications to the best salesperson you ever knew. Compare them to the best salesperson you ever had. Compare them to yourself. Ouch.

Now that you know the criteria, you have some work to do.


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