Sales Attributes

1. Closing: The Ability to Ask For and Obtain Commitments

Closing is the first skill or attribute a salesperson must possess. Not because they need to be able to close a deal, but because they need to obtain the commitment to open the possibility of working together, which is the first and most critical commitment the salesperson must obtain. Great salespeople obtain commitments that move the deal through the sales and buying process.

Salespeople obtain commitments only after they have created value for the prospect of client, and they close for the commitment to create future value together.

Closing: The Ability to Ask for and Obtain Commitments

4 Ways to Be a Better Closer

2. Differentiate: The Ability to Stand Out from the Crowd

Success in sales is dependent upon your ability to differentiate your product or service in a crowded field. More important still is your ability to differentiate yourself as a salesperson. This is accomplished first by possessing and developing the ten foundational success skills, and then by developing your own personal brand.

The first thing that a customer buys is you!

Differentiate: The Ability to Stand Out in a Crowd

3 Ways to Differentiate Yourself and Your Offering in Sales

3. Prospecting: The Ability to Open Relationships

Salespeople open relationships. Opening relationships is built upon the ability to prospect. Successful salespeople are disciplined with their prospecting, and they obtain commitments to explore working with and for their prospects. They open relationships by developing trust, and by demonstrating their willingness and their ability to create value for their prospects. And they use every method at their disposal to do so.

Prospecting: The Ability to Open Relationships

7 Ways to Be Better at Prospecting

4. Business Acumen: A General Understanding of Business Principles

In the past, success in sales depended very heavily on the salesperson’s sales acumen. While sales acumen is still necessary, business acumen is now equally as important as sales acumen (and in many cases, more!). The business of sales is now the business of business. Salespeople now need the business acumen of a great general manager.

Business Acumen: A General Understanding of Business Principles

7 Ways to Improve Your Business Acumen for Sales

5. Diagnose: The Desire to Understand

The ability to sell requires a strong ability to diagnose the client’s problems and challenges. By diagnosing their problems and challenges, and by developing a full understanding of their root causes, the professional salesperson can build a solution that perfectly matches the client’s needs, improving their performance and providing them with the outcome they desire.

Diagnose: The Desire to Understand

3 Ways to Improve Your Ability to Diagnose for Salespeople

6. Storytelling: The Ability to Share a Vision

Storytelling is the ability to create a compelling vision of the future. Great salespeople include in their stories the challenges and the obstacles that will need to be overcome in order to create that future. They write the future positive outcomes with their clients as both characters and as coauthors.

Storytelling: The Ability to Create and Share a Vision

6 Ways You Can Be a Better Storyteller in Sales

7. Negotiation: The Ability to Create Win-Win Deals

Great salespeople have the ability to negotiate. They see every advance in the sales process as an opportunity to negotiate in good faith, creating value for their company and their client company at each and every stage. They build trust within their client’s company, negotiating changes and modifications within the buying team to ensure that value is created for all of their stakeholders. They negotiate within their own organization to innovate and create value for their clients. All of these negotiations lead to the trust that makes final negotiation easy, with both sides trusting that they can create a win-win agreement.

Negotiation: The Ability to Create Win-Win deals

2 Ways Salespeople Can Negotiate Better

8. Change Management: The Ability to Help Others Improve

Salespeople sell change. They sell a future result, a better outcome. But creating the vision of a better future outcome is only where the sale begins. Successful salespeople know that that change needs their time, their attention, and their resourcefulness as a salesperson—and as a businessperson—to be achieved. They lead and manage the change that they sell.

Change Management: The Ability to Help Others Improve

5 Ways Salespeople Can Improve Their Change Management Skills

9. Leadership: The Ability to Generate Results Through Others

Great salespeople have the ability to lead. They have the ability to generate results through the efforts of others on their teams, as well as their client’s teams.

Leadership: The Ability to Generate Results Through Others

10. Manage Outcomes: The Ability to Achieve Results

Salespeople don’t sell product or services; they sell outcomes. Successful salespeople manage these outcomes for their clients and their companies, ensuring that they achieve the results and the outcome that they sold.

Manage Outcomes: The Ability to Generate Results

4 Ways Salespeople Can Better Manage Outcomes and Achieve Results for Their Clients


  1. […] term “trusted advisor.” It used to seem like a nice term to capture some of the behaviors and attributes of the best salespeople. As of late, I cringe when I hear the words because they are too often used […]

  2. […] with the addition of Adaptability. I have had comments here agreeing with my choices of success and sales attributes, and I have had comments that disagreed with both my language choices (as I am prone to hyperbole) […]

  3. […] in the purchasing decision and use of the product or service. Either way, there are certain foundational sales attributes a salesperson must possess. One of those is understanding that sales is always about the potential […]

  4. […] one of the VERY best pieces on his blog. Its called Foundational Sales Attributes. And as the title suggests its Iannarino’s take on what attributes great sales people […]