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20 qualities that all great salespeople share

Steve JobsJustin Sullivan / GettySteve Jobs was a master salesman.

To succeed in life and in business, you have to be a great salesperson, whether it’s selling yourself, your ideas, or your product.

“Great salespeople are literally the engine of every economy in the world,” says Grant Cardone, a sales expert and the author of “Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.

So how does one become great? We caught up with Cardone, who shared the 20 qualities that he thinks set great salespeople apart from everyone else.

This is an update of an article originally written by Vivian Giang.

Joe Raedle/Getty

1. They don't think in terms of sales but rather in terms of building a business. Great salespeople are working to build a business, not just trying to make a sale. When you think beyond a sale, you get other people's attention much more easily. They're going to be more interested in what you have to say, since you want something that's going to survive beyond one sale.

2. They build their businesses one customer at a time, and always leverage the last customer into more customers. Don't ever just make a sale and forget about that client. The last sale you make should always open the door to new relationships and clients.

3. They listen more than they speak, getting an understanding of the customer's needs and then finding a solution. Great salespeople always ask their clients why they want something done. In listening more than talking, you can better accommodate what they are looking for.

4. They deliver more than they promise, and always promise a lot! There's an old sales mantra that says 'under commit and over-deliver,' but Cardone advises that you should 'over commit and over-deliver.'

5. They invest their time in things (people) that positively affect their income and avoid spending time on things (people) that have no return. High performers know how to spend time on activities that ring the register. Don't waste your time on things that don't produce anything now or in the future.

6. They are always seeking new, better, and faster ways to increase their sales efforts. Be concerned efficiency and effectiveness. Great salespeople consistently work on improving themselves and look for faster ways to close transactions.

7. They're willing to invest in networking, community, and relationships, knowing that the difference between a contact and a contract is the 'R' that stands for 'Relationship.' Invest in your community. Don't look at it as an expense, since you need to develop these relationships. So go ahead and join the country club and give money to politicians. In other words, be involved as much as you can.

8. They're fanatical about selling. The best salespeople are obsessed with their customers and growing their businesses.

9. They don't depend on the state of the marketplace for their outcomes and instead rely on their actions. If you're great, you're going to do well in any economy, because you create your own economy. You run your own race and make something happen despite the environment.

10. They surround themselves with overachievers and have little time for those who don't create opportunities. These people are sometimes viewed as being uninterested in others, but the truth is that they're just not interested in low production. They don't want to waste time with people who can't get anything done.

11. They never accept good enough as good enough. These people don't need anyone managing them. They push themselves.

12. They don't see failed sales attempts as failures but as investments in the process. If you don't close a business deal, don't think of it as a failed attempt. You should know that some attempts pay off while others don't, but they're all investments in the business.


13. They never give up on unsold clients, knowing that someday those clients will buy. Remember that you're growing your business, so if you experience a failed attempt, think of it as an opportunity for the future.

14. They squeeze hours out of minutes and weeks out of days. Great salespeople are like magicians with time. They don't manage time; they create it.

15. They see problems as opportunities. When a problem comes along, see it as an opportunity. If you don't have any problems, it means you don't have any value.

16. They invest in their education, development, and personal motivation, knowing that these are the tools of a sales professional. You need to continue to invest in your game, much like a professional ballplayer is always practicing.

17. They invest in their careers, their businesses, and their customers. Again, this is all an investment. Think of it like watering the lawn. If you take care of your career, business, and customers, the money will eventually come.

18. They hold themselves to performance standards that are higher than management's expectations. No manager can know your actual potential. Only you know your true potential, so hold yourself to a higher standard than others do.

19. They don't need others to hold them accountable. They hold themselves accountable, possessing leadership, motivation, and purpose.

20. They are constantly in think, plan, and prepare mode in order to continue to build their client base and keep their pipelines full. You can't ever have an 'off' button.

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