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Qualities of a Sales Superstar


Guest articles > Qualities of a Sales Superstar


by: Daniel Milstein


There are no "born" superstars. Rather, it takes a 'village' of mentors, sales managers, assistants and other supporting players to help an already successful salesperson mature into a top producer.

Many people initially do not have the ability or drive to become a superstar. Maybe they do not know what it takes. Perhaps they lack the desire or confidence, or don't plan far enough ahead. Whatever the reason, they likely will not reach the stratosphere of sales. I certainly didn't think about being a top producer; my primary focus was on having a relatively successful first year. I was too busy to give it much thought. Of course, after achieving a stellar rookie year, I certainly wanted the success to continue.

Sales professionals are typically accorded superstar status based on total sales or units. For example, based on industry figures, loan originators closing at least $35 million and 225 loans of personal volume per year could be considered superstars. To be included in the Million Dollar Round Table, insurance salespeople and financial advisors must earn a minimum of $87,900 in first-year commission. (To be eligible for two higher tiers, their annual commission of the first-year income must be three to six times higher than the base requirement.) All salespeople have quotas to reach, including those to be included in the upper echelon of their profession. Obviously, it is difficult to compare successes across professions. A car salesperson has to sell a lot more units to match the dollar volume of a loan originator or yacht broker.

There have always been top producing salespeople, those who set industry records for selling mortgages, cars, paper insurance policies, stocks and a myriad of other products and services. Some can trace their achievement to a combination of knowledge, availability, hard work, market conditions, company visibility, a lack of competition and even a little luck. However, most overachievers have mastered several critical areas that set them apart from the rest. For example: Joseph Crane, an early salesman for National Cash Register, based his success on learning everything possible about his prospects' needs and then finding the most effective ways to satisfy them. He knew that by having a better understanding of his customer's current situation and future plans, he would be better able to offer the right product. In today's sales environment, that sounds like such a simple concept. At the time, it was revolutionary sales thinking.

Joe Girard got into the 1973 Guinness Book of World Records by selling 1,425 cars. He is widely regarded by many of his peers to be the 'world's greatest salesman.' He got his start as a nine-year old selling shoe shines and newspapers. Girard later recounted that a turning point in his development as the world's premier car salesman was when he hired an assistant, enabling him to delegate other tasks while keeping his focus on selling. He eventually established several enduring sales techniques, like relationship marketing, and he introduced the well-known Law of 250. The latter emphasizes that we all know at least 250 people, and are thus able to influence each of them, who can then reach another 250 people, and so on, all of whom could be potential sales and referral sources. Of course the other side of the coin is that if you s alienate one or more of the 250, your mistake can represent a lot of lost sales!

In order to become top producers in their fields, all salespeople should follow the lessons of Joseph Crane, Joe Girard and others. Sales pros must possess an abundance of dedication, knowledge, skill and stamina, traits that are typically developed and refined over a period of time.


Daniel Milstein is the bestselling author of ABC of Sales. For more information, visit:

Contributor: Daniel Milstein

Published here on: 08-Dec-13

Classification: Sales


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