Your Sales Team Needs This Key Trait

November 15, 2016


Do your team members possess the key trait for sales success?

People are always asking me what they think the number one personality trait of a successful salesperson should be.

Now, there is obviously a mixture of key strengths an ideal salesperson should possess, but one that stands out for me is personal responsibility.

A salesperson is simply not prepared to reach their maximum potential until they take responsibility for their wins, losses, and their development as a sales professional.

Here are a few questions to discover if this trait exists in your next candidate:

  1. “What can you tell me about an important sale that you’ve lost?”
  2. “What’s an example of a customer you’ve lost in the past?”
  3. “What has been your biggest obstacle when selling?”

Look for any signs of the sales rep shifting blame from themselves to external sources. The wrong candidates will often blame the market, the prices, their colleagues, their management, their customers, and just about anything or anyone but themselves. This is a sure sign that this person is not yet willing to take personal responsibility for their sales success.

Of course, external variables can cause a temporary hiccup in sales, but the right candidate will not focus on them. Rather, look for the sales rep that acknowledges any external factor that may have existed but shifts the focus back to themselves and their own ability to take ownership. This is the quality that separates the future sales superstar from the chronic complainer who misses their target every quarter.

Also, dive into your candidate’s willingness, ability and history of developing themselves. You can consider asking them:

  1. “When was the last time you attended a sales conference on your own personal time?”
  2. “How often do you attend sales workshops?”
  3. “What have you done recently to improve your sales skills?”
  4. “What is your favorite sales book?” (Extra points if their answer is Nonstop Sales Boom!)

If your candidate gives you a blank stare or looks dumbfounded, consider it a warning sign. You want team members who take the responsibility to invest in their own sales development. It demonstrates an initiative and passion driven by something more than a paycheck. The last thing you want is a sales rep who drags themselves to work each morning and spends the majority of their time counting down the hours to the end of the day.

There you have it. Taking personal responsibility is, in my mind, the most important trait in a great salesperson. The industries, markets, customers, and prices will always be a variable. The salesperson that recognizes this and does everything in their power to keep themselves a hardworking and reliable constant is surely destined for success. <– Click To Tweet

What would you say is an important character trait for salespeople?

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2 responses to “Your Sales Team Needs This Key Trait”

  1. Great post Colleen. Over the years I have met and worked with many salespeople who liked to shift the blame from themselves and very few who took personal responsibility. Oddly enough the ones who did have invariably been the most successful

  2. Greg Woodley says:

    Very well put Colleen,
    leaders are readers and that applies to sales people too.
    And the best reps accept responsibility and that’s part of the improvement process too.
    What’s the point of taking courses and reading books on selling if someone can just derail your efforts. You take the courses becasue you know you are in control of your own destiny.

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