Top sales talent is continuing to become more and more rare. In fact, a recent study found that the greatest salespeople – those who exceed quota year over year – make up a mere 20% of the total sales workforce.

So, what gives this small talent pool their competitive edge?

Characteristics and Behaviors of Top Salespeople Study

Here are 5 sales skills only the best salespeople possess.

1. The ability to understand the buyer

In order to exceed quota and close new business in today’s hypercompetitive B2B market, a salesperson must understand their buyer. Corporate decision makers are busy and don’t waste time with sellers who don’t understand their pain, goals, or business.

In fact, salespeople who don’t understand their buyer’s needs are 73% less likely to close the sale.

Top salespeople research their prospective business’ industry, market trends, objectives, customers, competitors, and challenges beforehand – and use this information to prove to the buyer they understand them.

2. The ability to Communicate value

Great sellers have the ability to communicate their product or service’s value. And, research shows that salespeople who communicate value are 35% more likely to close the sale.

To determine the true value of their offering, top salespeople conduct in-depth interviews with existing customers.

They quantify their business value by providing numbers, dollars, and time frames based off existing customer results. They speak to outcomes, tie results to critical business issues, and reference existing client success stories.

3. The ability to build trust

Top performers are skilled in establishing trust. And this is especially important in sales since salespeople rank in the lower 10% of professions that people trust.

Research shows that high trust equals a higher close ratio and higher profit.

A Players become experts in their buyers’ businesses, making their sales pitches more credible and trustworthy. They build rapport, exhibit integrity, and honor commitments.

4. The ability to think critically

In recent years, big data has played a major role in the evolution of sales. Today, 65% of business executives say they embrace big data to stay competitive. With the introduction of new sophisticated tools, the sales function has increasingly become more of a data science.

The best sellers have critical thinking skills which allow them to interpret data and analyze findings. And, they are consistently using big data to optimize their sales performance.

5. The ability to manage time effectively

The best salespeople are skilled in managing their time effectively. Because, they know that time equals money.

With many external factors, top sales reps understand that they are 100% accountable for their goals, but have limited control over their clients’ time.

In order to succeed, top reps plan and prioritize each day, maximizing selling time and overall performance.


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