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Know the Attributes That Drive Elite Sales Performance

This is a guest article by Larry Coco, President and Founder of Coco Training & Coaching

In our ever-changing landscape, it is key for organizations to drive down sales turnover while increasing sales tenure. This is not an easy task. While many struggle with this, there is a solution. In short, it requires a well-defined plan and effective execution.

Think about the most successful people you have ever met in life, whether from school, a sports team, a friend, or a work associate. Perhaps it is someone you greatly admire on the world stage. Do these people have these attributes at a very high level? I think you may be nodding your head in agreement right now. What do they all have in common?

Detailed research tells us the Five Key Values of Successful People are as follows:

#1:  A Willingness to Follow Direction: In short, your best sales professionals are willing to follow directions. 

#2:  Exhibiting a High Amount of Self-Discipline: Your task is to place your sales professionals in situations where they can be left alone to accomplish relevant tasks in a timely manner.

#3:  The Ability to Work Under Pressure: Successful sales professionals work under tight deadlines and manage multiple priorities.

#4:  A Strong Desire and Commitment to Succeed: The successful sales professional is willing to put forth the time and effort it takes to win. In short, they fire a passion, within.

#5:  General Comprehension Abilities: Sales professionals should have a keen awareness of how to handle people and situations. The most talented exhibit street smarts. It’s about Emotional Intelligence, listening, asking questions, and reading body language.


These five internal values reside in successful people. Thus, we need to measure these values in our sales professionals consistently.

How to foster core values: 

    • Create a spreadsheet listing your sales professionals’ names across the top. List the five core values in the down column. Next to each value put the numbers 1 through 5. 1  is the lowest score with 5 being the highest. It’s time to score out your sales professional(s).

    • Have a meeting to let your sales team members know you have identified the core values of successful people. Discuss the values in detail and communicate your expectation that every employee is expected to exhibit these values. In essence, the “bar” has been raised.

    • Next, distribute individual sheets to each team member. Have your sales professionals conduct a self-evaluation, rating t their activities and performance over the past three months. Are they a 3 (average)? Are they better, or perhaps worse? The lowest score a sales professional can receive is a 5, all ones. The highest score is a 25, all fives.

    • As we discuss in our The Sales Management Leadership Program, it is time for the Sales Manager to share their evaluation with the sales professional by scheduling one-on-one meetings. Make the conversation collaborative: these meetings represent a tremendous opportunity to let your sales professionals know where they stand in their strengths and areas of improvement.

This system allows companies to create a repeatable benchmark (perhaps a score of 19 or better is acceptable) by providing individual expectations and goals, along with activities tied directly to them. For example, if a sales professional exhibits a low level of self-discipline, create a task that needs to be completed quickly.

This process highlights why certain sales professionals are not performing consistently and are on the verge of being deselected. The Sales Manager becomes frustrated since the sales professional is not bringing these high-level values to the table. It is no wonder the manager finds more important things to do. Keep in mind that holding on to a sales professional hoping things will magically improve costs too much time and money, which is not fair to all.

Maybe you’re thinking if these values are strong indicators of success, why not make them part of the Recruiting and Selection Process? This makes sense. Share expectations along with the key values of successful people, explaining your company culture is driven by them. Have the sales candidates “sell” you on the idea they have “Earned the Right” by asking behavioral questions tied to these key values.

Let these attributes become the basis of how you develop your people. Put a plan in place to continually measure your sales professionals. Only then can you build that elite, high-performance team you so want, need, and deserve. 

About Larry 

Larry Coco is an accomplished transformational senior-level executive with a strong track record of Recruiting, Training, and Executive/Team Coaching. He has worked for many years in the IT, Information Sharing, Document Management, Logistics, Financial Services, and Manufacturing industries.

Larry is highly experienced in the formation of strategic plans and skilled in the areas of creating and driving key processes to achieve improved results. 

Larry Coco

Want more tips from Larry Coco?

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Last updated: 02 Nov 2021

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