Being a Sales Star Requires Balance

Last Updated Dec 21, 2009 8:26 AM EST

Last week, a comment popped up on the post "Are Great Sales Pros Born That Way?" that I think is positively brilliant. It's a definition of the attributes that make up a sales star from a professional sales trainer at MXL Partners, a sales training firm. Here's the comment, slightly edited:
Just as good natural athletes can be developed to be great athletes, salespeople can be developed to be outstanding producers. But just as not all people can be turned into superstar athletes, some salespeople will be limited by their nature. They can be trained to overcome blind-spots, but not all can be developed to be sales superstars. Their nature ultimately comes into play.

I'm often asked about the profile of excellent salespeople. I believe the attributes and make-up of superstar salespeople are like the balanced five points on a star:

  • 1. Driver -- a self-starter. The best salespeople are those who need no outside motivation. They possess an inner drive that pushes them to limits beyond the common individual. It?s not easily taught. Superstars are naturals here.
  • 2. Technician -- technically self-sufficient. The ideal rep is knowledgeable about their products and the customer?s environment and problems. They are not simply sellers. They are like good customer-facing mechanics that understand how the engine works.
  • 3. Facilitator -- manages one-to-one and one-to-many communications. An excellent rep can command a boardroom full of people and facilitate discussion appropriately. It?s a developed skill that comes with experience, confidence and sensitivity.
  • 4. Empathizer -- can express identification with others. They genuinely can respond naturally to the stated situation of prospects, customers and their own internal team. This characteristic stems from a sensitive heart and the ability to effectively listen with compassion and empathy.
  • 5. Servant -- a humble and healthy sense of self. Ultimately a server of others, like a servant with a heart, caring for the other person before themselves. This characteristic really stems from their own security and strong sense of self. They are so comfortable with themselves that they don?t have to defend or fight, they actually can care and desire to serve the other side.
While these gifts and attributes may come naturally to some, they can be honed, developed and fine-tuned by good coaches, managers and trainers. But balance is the key. If any one point is extended or over-exaggerated then the star is off balance. An effective superstar is strong and equally weighted on all superstar points.
READERS: Please don't hesitate to post similar thoughts and observations. Rest assured, if they're anywhere near as brilliant as this, I'll be giving them the "star" treatment.