The 5 Most Important Traits of the Best Salespeople

The 5 Most Important Traits of the Best Salespeople

I grew up in the Dallas, Texas area during the glory days of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970’s. Our fearless quarterback was Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach, who joined the team in 1969 and played for eleven seasons. Of course, who could forget Tom Landry, the mastermind coach, who is legendary for his career playoff record of twenty wins, second only to Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.

During that time, this leadership duo took the team to five Super Bowls, winning two of them. And, the Cowboys made the playoffs almost every year. Winning was almost routine for America’s Team, but it was glorious.

If we look behind the scenes, there was no luck involved. The Cowboys front office, led by Tex Schramm, was also a well-oiled machine. But there was another leader, not as well known by the public, who was instrumental to the Cowboys success. I’m referring to the former Vice President of Player Personnel, Gil Brandt. Mr. Brandt started with the Cowboys in 1960, their first year as a franchise, and stayed with them for twenty-nine years until his retirement.

Gil is credited by many for his innovations in finding the best talent available and bringing them to the Cowboys. His philosophy during the NFL draft was to take “the best available athlete” and then mold them into the player desired. But more than philosophy, Mr. Brandt is credited with pioneering the use of analytics to define the traits, measurable qualities and skills that were found in those “best athletes.” He extensively used psychological and personality tests to determine the mental makeup of the best prospects. He and his scouting team relentlessly tracked, categorized, and measured all potential athletes available.

The results are legendary, as mentioned. Five Super Bowl appearances and two victories. Thirteen Division Championships and twenty straight winning seasons (1966 -1985). Their success was no accident, because they had a great talent selection process.

Drafting the Best Sales Talent

Finding the best sales talent is also a tough endeavor. Often, I find hiring managers don’t quite have the right criteria defined for what makes up a sales winner. Without the right criteria, sales folks are hired who quite often will disappoint. After twenty-one years in professional sales, I’ve learned which qualities make up the best sales athletes. But, I must give credit where credit is due. As mentioned in this previous post, I am a student of Ron Trego, PhD., who has defined the ideal criteria required to select the best sales talent. His Trego Personnel Survey accurately measures the makeup of sales candidates (and any candidate for that matter). His experience spans forty years during which he has administered tens of thousands of assessments. His assessments definitively prove who will succeed, and who will not. I’m happy to share his criteria with you now:

Dr. Trego’s Top 5 Traits for Sales Success

  1. Mental Ability – The best sales people today are problem solvers. Their prospects have significant challenges, so those sales people that go the extra mile to solve those issues will win the day. This takes intelligence, analytical ability and creativity.
  2. High Energy Level – As Dr. Trego tells me, these folks just can’t stand to be sitting around doing nothing. They always have a project going and they love to be productive.
  3. Persistence – This is the ability to look at adversity and get motivated. Bad day yesterday? So what! That has no bearing on today. Defeat is not an option.
  4. Emotional Toughness – Let’s face it sales can be a tough job. The reality of the daily grind, and dealing with so many people can be draining. These folks have the intestinal fortitude and desire to keep going no matter what.
  5. Competitiveness – Good sales people love to compete and win. Every “no” just gets them closer to the next “yes”, and they have figured that out.

Now, imagine your sales team is filled with professionals with these dominant traits. How would their sales success change your world?