I recently read a discussion about “the one most important trait for hiring a salesperson.” Many suggestions were made, including communication skills, work ethic, and even good looks! Every point certainly has its place, but I personally think there is one character trait that trumps them all. Can you guess what makes successful salespeople?
The #1 Trait of Successful Salespeople
In my opinion, humility trumps all other qualities. Before I explain why, let’s explore what humility isn’t. Firstly, humility is not humiliation – that is about being embarrassed, disgraced, or dishonoured. Secondly, humility is not weakness – in fact, it is most prominent in people of power. Finally, humility is not looking down on yourself or downplaying compliments – this is false modesty.
Now we know what it isn’t, here’s what it is: humility is being honest with who we are. It is about being conscious about our weaknesses and strengths. Humility is about looking at others as equals and fellow human beings, never down at oneself or others.
Successful Salespeople Are Humble
While being conscious of their talents, the humble salesperson does not boast and is not proud. They give credit to others for their successes and take responsibility for their failures. The humble salesperson’s accurate and stable self-image enables them to act authentically and with integrity to others. They understand that they can always learn more, are open to correction, and are constantly looking for opportunities to learn (this factor in itself is the predecessor to becoming strong in any skill or desirable trait!). Finally, they never regard themselves as more important than their company, colleagues, or prospects.
Can you see how humility trumps any other trait? While essential, our skills and talents can give us an over-inflated view of ourselves. This is in part responsible for the many sales myths that exist today about what it takes to be successful. Our pride can blind us to our prospects’ needs, the emotions of our colleagues, and our own limitations.
Successful Salespeople Humble Themselves
How do we develop the quality of humility? I trust by now that you will have picked up some tips, but here are three practical action steps:
– Pay close attention to your “inner dialogue.” Never look down on yourself or others.
– Give credit for successes, and take responsibility for failures
– Always open your mind to learning – you can always learn something new from others.
Humility is the most important character trait that a salesperson can possess. Being humble is not about humiliation, weakness, or looking down on oneself. To be humble, we need to be honest about who we are. This can be achieved through paying close attention to our thoughts, giving credit and taking responsibility, and fostering an open mind. Ancient wisdom states that “Pride comes before a fall,” so secure your sales success by humbling yourself today!
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