The Five Habits of Highly Effective Salespeople


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In 1989, the late Stephen Covey authored the best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a great book and a must read for anyone in business.

The key word to note in this book title is the word habits. Successful people and salespeople share a common trait: they practice success habits. Over the next few weeks, I will share the five success habits that I have noted in top sales producers in my 25 years of selling, managing, teaching and coaching. Instead of ‘kicking the habit,’ I encourage you to pick some up!

Habit #1: Practice

When you meet successful people, you assume they have always operated at this level of success. Nice house, car and lifestyle. What you don’t see are the hours of work and dedication that went into becoming the best in their field.

It is the number one differentiator between mediocrity and mastery. For example, I will facilitate a sales training workshop where there are 25 participants in a training workshop. All the participants are learning the same great content and methodology. As much as I would like to take 100% credit for my client’s success, it’s a 50-50 proposition. The content doesn’t work without practice and execution. Knowledge isn’t power unless it’s applied.

There are three emotional intelligence skills found in these top sales producers that help them practice, master and improve their skills.

  • Delayed gratification – This is the ability to put in the work before you get the reward. Study any great athlete and you will find HOURS of practice for an hour of play on the court or field. Study any great salesperson and you will find a salesperson that practices and is prepared. He knows his value proposition, easily asks the right questions during a sales call and has the appropriate responses to frequently asked questions or objections.
  • Self-regard – Confident salespeople admit their strengths and weaknesses. They debrief their sales calls and identify areas for improvement. They don’t blame prospects for a ‘bad’ sales call. They take responsibility, ask for help, learn where they missed the mark and practice a new approach.
  • Emotional Self-Awareness – The self-aware salesperson schedules downtime and examines her daily behavior. If she is not putting in the work to be successful, she asks herself the tough questions of why not?
    • Am I defaulting to instant gratification and why?
    • What is the reason that I am settling for mediocrity rather than mastery?
    • What makes me uncomfortable admitting weaknesses?
    • Am I asking for enough advice or coaching?

You’ve heard the saying before, “practice makes perfect.” Incorporate practice into your daily and weekly habits.

Good Selling,

Colleen Stanley
Chief Selling Officer

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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