Bonus Content

Eight Traits of Top Salespeople

By John Chapin

What makes top salespeople top salespeople? While the answer to this question might seem obvious, there’s more to it than simply selling more than anyone else in a given time period. Sure, being “salesman of the month” will earn you temporary status as a top salesperson, but it takes the following eight traits to make a salesperson truly great:

  1. Laser focus on what’s important. Top salespeople always hit their numbers. They know that, no matter what, they simply have to do the necessary pros­pecting, presenting, and closing, and they are committed to getting all of it done re­gardless of what’s going on around them.
  2. Work ethic. Top salespeople are the hardest-working people around and they do the work necessary for success. They don’t look for shortcuts or the easy way out; they simply do it. They show up before everyone else, work longer than everyone else, and get more accomplished than everyone else. They answer their phone before and after business hours and they are super responsive.
  3. An ability to act in spite of fear and to step out of their comfort zone. Mediocre salespeople can get awfully creative when it comes to staying in their comfort zone and avoiding that which they fear. Top salespeople, on the other hand, step out of their comfort zone and face and overcome fear every single day. They make the call they are afraid to make, try the crazy idea that just might work, and do what­ever it takes to be successful regardless of fear.
  4. Having integrity and character. While it’s possible to have some short-term success in sales without integrity and character, long-term success is impossible without both. In­tegrity and character involve being honest with people and truly caring about them. It means a sale won’t be made unless it is right for both parties involved—even if that means sending a customer to the competition.
  5. A focus on people and relationships. A salesperson’s focus needs to be on people and long-term relationships. At the end of the day, the most important element in the sale is the relationship, which requires staying in touch with people and continually developing and strengthening relationships. Ultimately, long-term success will come down to the loyalty and size of the salesperson’s network.
  6. Preparation. Top salespeople are always well prepared. They have great answers to questions, objections, and all other items that might come up during a prospect interaction. They are continually upgrading their skills and developing themselves personally and professionally. They constantly get better at selling, communicating, and understanding other people.
  7. Confidence. Top salespeople have complete and total belief in themselves, their products, and their companies. They truly believe that others must have their products and that their customers’ lives are much improved as a result of owning their product. Top salespeople know that the first sale is to themselves: They have to have complete belief and conviction in themselves and their products before they can sell anyone else.
  8. Accepting 100% responsibility for success or failure. Top salespeople take 100% responsibility for everything in their lives. They realize that success in all areas of their lives is up to them and not determined by outside factors such as the economy, the market, or other people. Everything starts and stops with them.

Chapin has 24 years of sales, customer service, and management experience and is an award-winning sales speaker, trainer, and coach. He is also a sales rep in three industries and the primary author of the gold-medal-winning “Sales Encyclo­pe­dia.” To reach Chapin, find a free white paper on what it takes to be successful in sales, and subscribe to his monthly news­letter, visit

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