Selling As An Art – Or Not!!

Sep 20, 2013

Your Sales Staff – They Either Have it or They Don’t – How to Know!

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Education Seminar in Denver, but I heard a lot of good things about it and had a chance to review the materials supplied by Tangent Knowledge Systems.  Updating the sales process from ‘old school’ to a newer philosophy with a focus on customer engagement and trust is a powerful concept.  In these dubious times, there really can’t be enough emphasis on sales and selling techniques.  After reviewing the materials, I started to think about what makes a good salesperson to begin with.

I believe that good techniques are in vain if the salesperson doesn’t possess the qualities of success.  In looking through my resource file, I came across an article by Colleen Stanley, President of Sales Leadership, Inc. in Denver.  Colleen looked at successful producers and observed that they shared some common characteristics.  Here is Colleen’s take on key traits and attributes of successful salespeople:


  • Coachable — They take responsibility for mistakes and ask for help.
  • Dependable –They are persistent and understand the sales process, giving it due diligence
  • Balance — They don’t boast or gloat over sales or commissions, they keep their humility in check and remain professional.
  • Lifelong Learning — They realize they must keep on top of their game and keep on learning and trying new approaches for continued success.
  • Move on — They constantly move forward and don’t beat themselves up over lost sales.  Because they understand the sales process, they realize there is more opportunity around the corner, and with new determination and a positive attitude, they move on.
  • Caring— They like what they do and sincerely care about the company, the products, and the customers.  They have empathy and show concern.
  • Pro-active— They do not have an attitude of entitlement and wait for staff to shower them with tools.  They create their own processes, leads, and networking groups; and they take charge of their own success.
  • Delayed Gratification — They are patient and understand it takes time to learn products and build a customer base.  They invest time on the front end, knowing the rewards will result.
  • Work Hard— They apply themselves and put in the time.  They understand that sales is not a 9-5 job, and they are always selling.  They look for opportunities in every situation and at all times of the day and night.

I like this list a lot.  It’s a good checklist to review and share with your sales team.  Remember these are proven characteristics for success.  How simple is that?


But wait, there is more:   I also have a resource that defines unsuccessful sales people.  You may recognize some of these traits provided by AvaTax Calc:


  • Telling Others They are Wrong — They call attention to others’ mistakes and gloat over errors rather than learning from others’ mistakes and having humility.
  • Ignoring Criticism –They think they know better than anyone, and their way is the only way rather than taking criticism constructively with grace and using offered ideas.
  • Being Late — They make people wait for them which sends a message that others’ time isn’t important rather than scheduling appropriately and meeting timelines.
  • Cell Phone Interruption –They have no qualms about letting their phone ring, buzz, and ding during meetings with customers rather than being respectful of others’ time and being courteous.
  • Shirking Responsibility –This is one thing at which they are successful—getting others to do their work and not accepting responsibility for errors instead of being open to suggestions and owning up to failures and shortcomings.
  • Failing to Apologize –They are arrogant and think they can do no wrong rather than acknowledging their limitations or mistakes and being open and gracious to others.

So there you have it – profiles of two types of sales people.  While one’s sales technique can always be improved, how about sharing this with your sales staff and having them do some self assessment on their personal side?  It can’t hurt, and paired with all the great information provided at the Education Seminar, it may just help your bottom line and the atmosphere within your company.   If your sales person isn’t willing to change and live up to the positive traits or exhibits one or more of the traits of unsuccessful sales people, then their selling technique may not matter too much.

And finally, one more thing!  You have probably noted by now that these traits apply to anyone – not just sales people!