USC Marshall Prof. Steve W. Martin Summarized Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople

Over the past decade, Prof. Steve W. Martin has interviewed thousands of top business-to-business salespeople who sell for some of the world’s leading companies. The findings indicate that key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling style and ultimately their success. The are:

  1. Modesty. Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility.
  2. Conscientiousness. Eighty-five percent of top salespeople had high levels of conscientiousness .
  3. Achievement Orientation. Eighty-four percent of the top performers are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals.
  4. Curiosity. Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts.
  5. Lack of Gregariousness. Overall, top performers averaged 30 percent lower gregariousness than below average performers.
  6. Less than 10 percent of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement and being frequently overwhelmed with sadness
  7. Less than five percent of top performers had high levels of self-consciousness.


The evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success.(See the full article here)

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