What Do the Top 5% of Salespeople Do Best? How Do I Become One? How Do I Find One?

Here are five traits to truly thrive in the sales industry.


In 1956, Walter Clarke, an industrial psychologist built the first personality profile test based on a book written in 1928 by William Moulton Marston titled Emotions of Normal People.

Marston’s theory is what led Clarke to build the DISC profile assessment for personnel selection by businesses, which centers on four behavioral traits:

  • Dominance 
  • Inducement,
  • Submission
  • Compliance 

In my learning, I was told there was a large investment made by the insurance industry to try and determine the best personality type for hiring salespeople who would be most suited to work on 100% commission.

The interesting result of this, from what I have observed having trained over 20,000 business owners, sales leaders, and sales professionals, is that this tool is not a predictor of what makes a great sales person.  

The DISC theory is still important to understand in sales and working with customers, and it is a great tool for recognizing how to be successful as a sales champion. 

I found possessing the following five traits to be the key for truly thriving in the sales industry:  

1.  Ganas

Great sales people in my experience have one thing in common that I can best describe as the Spanish word “Ganas!” The literal translation for the word is “desire” or “to feel like” doing something.

However, in my experience, when you find a salesperson with real “Ganas,” they have that willingness you only find in people who are “willing to pay the price,” “do whatever it takes,” and have more of a “burning desire.”

They will put themselves through nights without sleep, sacrifice personal time with family, and even sometimes risk their own well being to succeed. It is like the spirit and commitment of a champion that will drive people to produce success, and in the case of the best salespeople they all have “Ganas!”

2.  Commitment

I have experienced this type of burning desire that must also be combined with the unbreakable commitment to achieve. In our conversations with salespeople on prospecting and follow-up, we talk about “Making it a Habit.”

The very best salespeople spend up to 50% of their time working everyday on prospecting and follow-up. They understand that being more invested in developing their existing customers will turn out to be much more profitable in the end, especially when it comes to their own commitment to taking care of customers who have already bought from them.

Both businesses and salespeople are learning the value of being committed to retaining customers. The very best will focus on building loyalty from their own customers by taking great care of them and turning them into raving fans so that referrals will come easily.

3.  Discipline

Discipline is often the differentiator between being good and being great. In our training, we talk about “doing it every day.”

The very best make no excuses and separate time to work on all of their tasks for successful selling, where others will provide excuses about how they are doing their daily tasks that enable them to produce the sales success they should be achieving. Daily discipline is very hard to achieve, but the very best exercise this.

Next page- Passion, How do I beome a top performer?

Jaime Hernandez
Jaime Hernandez
Jaime “Jim” Hernandez, is president of Strategic Business Communications, Inc. which ranked #4122 in INC magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America. He contributes a column about marketing for Latin Business Today. A motivational speaker, marketing consultant and trainer, Jim has worked with more than 30 businesses in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of MYM, and has been a guest lecturer on sales and marketing at the University of San Diego.

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