Five Qualities Necessary for Sales Success

During this day and age of limited time and resources I am constantly being asked to boil success down to a handful of qualities. Everybody wants the five “secrets” to success.

While I am hard pressed to limit the qualities of successful sales professionals to just five things, I can give you five qualities that are common among all successful people.

Incidentally, these five qualities were not developed by me.   They were developed by a guy named Napoleon Hill as a result of a 20-year study he conducted on successful business people.

Good old Napoleon came up with 16 laws of success as a result of this study.  All of Hill’s laws can be applied to sales professionals but there are five in particular that separate the winning sales pros from the moderately successful salespeople.

Here are the five qualities from Napoleon Hill’s work that I believe to be most responsible for success:

Quality 1: Successful Sales Professionals have a Burning Desire to Serve Their Clients:  

This means you must really want to make a difference to your clients and you believe in your ability to do so.   That passion and desire is easily spotted in successful people.  It is a quality that attracts others – clients and referring attorneys – to you like a magnet.

If you are currently in a sales role and you do not have a passion for it, consider a career change.

Quality 2:  Successful Sales Professionals Make Use of Specialized Knowledge:

You have specialized knowledge of your product or service.  But people who are successful at selling also have the specialized knowledge of how to build and run a business. They have specialized knowledge of how to build systems to set their business up for success.  They have specialized knowledge in business strategy and they know how to deploy their resources toward an area of need in the market.

Specialized knowledge goes well beyond the day-to-day aspects of selling.  It extends to the knowledge necessary to deepen relationships over days, weeks, months and years.

Quality 3: Successful Sales Professionals are Decisive:

This is a quality that stands out in a sales leader.  They assimilate information and then they make a decision.  You have to make correct decisions and you have to do it in a way that projects confidence in yourself and in the people around you.

Let’s face it; if you have the will, you can recover from almost any mistake you make in life.

However, you may never be able to recapture an opportunity that presents itself if you don’t make a decision.  Great opportunities – golden opportunities – only come along so often – and you need to be decisive to take advantage of them.  Napoleon Hill found that decisiveness was a key quality in successful people and I could not agree more.

Quality 4: Successful Sales Professionals Set Goals:

Successful people are goal oriented. This means they have actually taken the time to think about where they want to be in five years, ten years and twenty years.

If you want to achieve significant success you need to first define what success is.  That means setting goals.

If you have never done any goal setting exercises, try this:

Pick out five things you would like to accomplish between now and the end of the year.

Write these five things down on a sheet of paper.

Fold the paper up and put it in your pocket.

Review this sheet of paper every time you eat a meal.

You will be amazed at the results.

When you write your goals down your subconscious mind automatically goes to work to try to help you achieve them.  You will find yourself drawn to activities that will bring you closer to your goals.

Once you become comfortable with this process, conduct a similar exercise, setting goals for the next five years.

Quality 5: Successful Sales Professionals Tap into the Collective Intelligence of Others

This is critically important.  You need to have a group of people you can trust to give you honest feedback on your ideas and performance.  You must have a group of like-minded people who know and understand what you are going through and can help you achieve your goals.

This last one really resonates with me because when I started my own business I was a one-person operation.  After having worked my entire career in big firms, I suddenly found myself without a sounding board for ideas.  This lead to a stifling of my creativity.

As my business has grown I have actively sought out successful people to bounce my ideas off of.  This process has been phenomenally valuable in many ways.  Everyone needs a handful of people in whom he can confide.

When a business leader comes to me and says he needs help with sales I review these five characteristics with him.  Almost always, I find he has not developed any of these qualities in himself.  That’s when I ask him a critical question:

“Are you willing to adopt these five qualities and use them in your business?”

You see, part of Napoleon Hill’s study revealed that successful people are not born with these qualities.  They developed them over time.   Success is learned behavior.

Here are three additional resources to help you become more successful:

How to Sell to the CEO

If you are going to sell, you should start at the top.  This article is your guide to selling to the boss.

The Power of the Referral Multiplier

This audio program will help you attract more referrals immediately. Listen and apply these principles and you’ll put your business growth on autopilot.

Make More Money in Sales: Take Action

The way to make more money in sales is simply to get off your rear end and make something happen.