Traits of a Successful Salesperson- Competitive Nature

Traits of a Successful Salesperson- Competitive Nature

Have you ever asked yourself what causes one person to be hugely successful in sales, while another fails?  It is a question that has plagued sales managers and business leaders since the dawn of time.

We have all seen the lists of personality traits of successful salespeople.  The list includes:

  • Persistent
  • Self-Motivator
  • Sense of Showmanship
  • Personable

The list goes on.  Most lists I’ve come across also include competitive nature.  These lists claim that successful salespeople are motivated to beat out their competitors, but also to become the best in their organization.  They want to beat their peers.  This belief is the basis of every sales competition and reward structure in businesses.

This being said, I see instances everyday where we discourage a sense of competition among our youth.  Sports teams give trophies to everyone that participates, not just the league champions.  Games are played without keeping score.  Everyone makes a team and everyone plays equal time.

Competitive cyclist Matt Blair said, “Being competitive is a requirement to survive and be successful.  In order to succeed, we must embrace our competitive nature, challenge ourselves and overcome the obstacles that keep us from our dreams.”

Yesterday’s youth is quickly growing up and becoming new hires in our corporations.  So is it possible at this late stage to teach them to embrace their competitive natures?  If so, how?

Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful NFL coaches of all time said, “Winning isn’t everything…it is the only thing.”  But winning at what? Beating who?

In my experience, successful salespeople realize that the greatest competition is with oneself. The enemy is within.  In other words, the best athletes even after a win are asking themselves what they did wrong.  Successful salespeople analyze each call to study what worked and what did not.  The focus is not on whether the game was won or lost or if the sale was made.  The focus is on performing to the best of their ability and on expanding their potential.  The win is just a result.

If you believe this is true, then the role of the sales coach or manager becomes the same as that of a parent:Sales manager and salesperson meet with client

  • To study the salesperson’s style when they are competing and help them to play to their strengths.  In other words, to teach them to work smarter, not harder
  • To teach them to play the game with integrity and character
  • To teach them that losing is necessary to getting better and that the toughest losses build the most character
  • To teach them that even the best competitors feel anxiety at times and to give them tools to help them face that anxiety
  • To not praise or give criticism but to help them gain a 360 degree view of their strengths and skill gaps
  • Most importantly, to help them internalize the cognitive or emotional skills they need to overcome whatever thought patterns are getting in their way

How do sales coaches accomplish this?  By spending time with their sales people and focusing on:

  1. Developing Motivation:  Working with their salespeople to foster a “Can Do” and “Want to Do” attitude.  This is what keeps sales people moving forward even when the going gets tough.
  2. Coaching Skills Development:  For sales managers, coaching days are the field travel and ride along days.  These days are focused on teaching and encouraging salespeople to try new techniques, analyze their sales calls, and develop their skills.
  3. Team-building:  Even Michael Phelps, one of the best Olympic swimmers, needed his team to help him earn his 19th Gold medal.  In the same way, even the best salesperson must be supported by a team that helps to manufacture, deliver and service the sale.  Best practices and new information shared among the sales team helps everyone be more successful.  The sales coach needs to work to develop this team atmosphere.
  4. Model the Desired Behavior:  The sales coach is the guardian of the corporate culture.  The sales coach needs to model and instill the character and behaviors that are central to the culture and the corporation.
  5. Sales Planning:  Sales planning is turning a vision into action.  Many people claim they would like to be millionaires but few actually achieve that goal?  Why?  Few people are willing to make a plan and put into action the steps necessary to achieve it.  According to the Millionaire Next Door, most millionaires cut coupons, eat at home more often than they eat out and they live within their means.  In other words, they turn their vision into action.

Let TEAM Marketing Group help your sales coaches, managers and sales team develop these important skills.  Contact us today at 303-220-8326.