What Three Things Do Top Sales Performers Have in Common?


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A few weeks ago I received an email from a sales director for a company that is an ESR client.  I hadn’t met this person in the past:

Hi Dave,

I have read your book, “How Winners Sell” and have found it to be one of the best sales mentoring books available. I have also followed you blogs and tweets over the years.

The best business books are those that you read and then review over time by going to the yellow highlight sections. My copy of “Winners” has served as a reference source for about 7 years.

I am a 20 plus year software sales veteran who spends the last 2 weeks of every July at a house in Katama with my family.

As a result, I would love to meet you and perhaps get a cup of coffee or an early evening drink in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs (or just coffee in Vineyard Haven).

I will be on the island from July 18th to August 1st and would be pleased to meet you, should schedules permit.

BTW – loved the aerial shot of Tisbury Pond.  [He’s referring to the photo in the header of this page.]  Bill & Susan […] have been family friends for many years and I have seen some wonderful island views from Bill’s helicopter.


Chris […]

How could I pass up this opportunity?

I didn’t.  We had breakfast at the Planeview Restaurant at the Martha’s Vineyard airport this morning.  (Lots of locals do business there.)

At one point, Chris asked me this question:  In your experience, what three things do top performing salespeople have in common?  Here’s my list:

  1. A realistic, objective view of themselves, their customers, and their sales opportunities.  Ability to seek and handle the truth and do the right things with that knowledge.
  2. An orientation toward order and process.  That includes planning.  Having ten or twenty deals in your portfolio and knowing what the next steps are for each one.  Not saying, “I’ll figure out what to do after the next meeting.”
  3. The ability (and willingness) to really understand the customer.   Being driven to research the company and the person with whom they are meeting to the point that they can grab and maintain credibility and differentiation, not to mention knowing enough to begin building a foundation for meaningful business collaboration.  (See Dave Brock’s post today about that subject.)

Are these my final answers?  No.  There are numbers of other common strengths, behaviors, skills, and traits among top performers, depending on the demands of the sales jobs they hold.  For example, what a strategic account manager needs to be successful is different from a territory rep.  But those three are a heck of a good place to start.

With that in mind, what are your top three?

Photo source:  © 2010 Dave Stein — Lambert’s Cove Beach, West Tisbury, MA.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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