9 Reasons Why Top Salespeople Succeed

When it comes right down to it, there are three categories of salespeople out there.

First, there are bottom performers. Bottom performers are salespeople who really shouldn’t be in sales at all—they’re just not going to make it.

Next, there are middle performers. These average salespeople make up the majority of the profession. They’re making a solid living, but not crushing it by any means.

And finally, there are top performers. These top salespeople are absolutely crushing it. In fact, top-performing salespeople often make more money than the CEO of their company. 

These folks are often more valuable to an organization than the VP of sales because they rake in so much money. As a result, top salespeople have the ultimate job security.

What sets these top salespeople apart from the rest of the sales crowd?

Turns out, top salespeople succeed because they’re consistently doing certain things that lead them to be successful. In other words, it’s no fluke—and you can join their ranks if you pay close attention to what they do.

In this video, I’m going to show you 9 reasons why top salespeople succeed. Check it out:

Video Summary:

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #1: Lead gen is in the bag.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #1: Lead gen is in the bag.

This is so key. You cannot be a top-performing sales rep without having a clear strategy for lead generation. Top salespeople don’t struggle every day to figure out how to generate new leads. Instead, they already know exactly what they’re going to do to generate new leads every day.

Some of those leads may be self-generated—where you’re literally making cold calls, asking for introductions, or having a team of people make cold calls on your behalf. Or maybe you’re using cold email. Whatever it is, when you’re a top salesperson, you have your lead gen strategy in the bag. You know exactly what to do, and when, to generate a certain number of leads every day, week, month, and year. There’s no winging it.

In order to become a top sales rep, you need to figure out this lead gen piece first. If you’re struggling day to day to figure out how to generate new leads, you’ll never make it to the top. You’ll always remain in the middle tier of reps until you get lead gen in the bag.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #2: They execute every day.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #2: They execute every day.

Top salespeople are consistent. They’re disciplined. But that doesn’t mean that they’re working way harder than all of the other sales reps out there. In fact, oftentimes they work fewer hours, but they are incredibly disciplined about executing their plan of action every single day.

So maybe they call a certain number of clients every day. Maybe they close a certain number of sales every day. Whatever it is, they’re executing on those numbers every day, no matter what. 

Reps in the middle and bottom tier tend to be kind of all over the place. They might wake up one day and say, “I’m not in the mood to make calls, so I’m just going to do office work today.” Then the next day they might get a burst of motivation and make a bunch of calls. The following day they might go back into hiding and focus on operations.

Top salespeople never fall victim to this yo-yo approach to sales. They are consistently executing every single day—whether they want to or not. They just get it done. 

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #3: They don’t look for friends.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #3: They don’t look for friends.

We don’t need friends in sales. While of course you need friends in your real life, you also need to dispel the myth of the “relationship builder” in sales. For many years, people thought that most top-performing reps were the best relationship builders. In other words, they had the best—and most—relationships in business. They were the best schmoozers. They could walk into a room full of people and make sure every single person loved them by the end of the cocktail hour.

But in reality, top salespeople don’t look for friends in sales. And while some top salespeople might be great schmoozers or have tons of friends, what they’re actually focused on is closing business, not making nice. They’re busy establishing authority, determining whether prospects are a fit, and closing deals—and if a prospect turns out not to be a fit, they don’t think twice about it. They just move on.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with developing a personal relationship with a great client over time. However, there’s no need to develop deeply personal relationships with prospects. Simply focus on making sure that they’re going to be a fit, provide them value, and then close the business. And if there’s a little bit of bonding and rapport in the process, fine. But that’s not the main focus—and it doesn’t matter in the long run whether you consider them a friend or not.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #4: They establish authority.
Why Top Salespeople Succeed #4: They establish authority.

Top salespeople are authorities and experts in their field. This doesn’t mean that they have 25+ years of experience in their given area, but rather that they’re focused on understanding the entire marketplace where their prospects exist. That’s all.

As a salesperson, you have such an amazing bird’s-eye view of what’s happening in the lives of your customers and prospects. Sharing that expertise and knowledge establishes authority.

In order to establish authority, first remember that it’s not about your product or your service. It’s only about what’s going on in the world of your prospects. Share some of those best practices and tell prospects what you’re seeing others deal with in the industry. Show your authority and prove to them that you understand their world.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #5: They’re assertive, not aggressive.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #5: They’re assertive, not aggressive.

Top salespeople are very assertive—but just to the point of not being aggressive. We often see that middle-performing reps are afraid to be assertive. They actually tend to be kind of timid—and that’s problematic.

We need to be assertive in sales. We need to be willing to challenge prospects when they do something that’s not in their best interest—or ours. But we don’t ever want to get to the point of being aggressive. Some middle-performing reps fall into this trap. Instead of being timid, they’re overly aggressive and prospects are immediately turned off. 

So we want to dance along that delicate line of being assertive, being willing to lead prospects down a path, to ask those hard questions and say those things that need to be said, but without ultimately being aggressive.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #6: They disqualify.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #6: They disqualify.

Top salespeople are so good at disqualifying opportunities that are not a fit. They go into every single conversation with a prospect saying to themselves, “Is this ultimately a fit?” And if it’s not a fit, they move on.

Throughout this process, top salespeople ask great questions to determine whether or not prospects are a fit for what they sell. And as soon as a prospect says something that suggests they might not be a fit, top salespeople dig deeper, asking more questions until it’s absolutely clear. If it turns out not to be a fit, then they move on and they never think about it again.

But if the prospect is a fit, the disqualification process makes it so that the salesperson now has a ton of information and has already asked great questions of the prospect. As a result, they have gotten so much insight they now have many tools in their arsenal to make sure that what they’re presenting to the prospect is solving the prospect’s top challenges.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #7: They’re NSO.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #7: They’re NSO.

NSO = Next step obsessed. The best salespeople are obsessed with establishing next steps in every single stage of the sale. They’re willing to push for that next meeting. They’re always trying to get that next piece scheduled so that sales don’t fall apart.

Have you ever been in a selling situation where the sale just kind of fizzled out? This is what next step obsession helps with. Now, I don’t mean obsession in a weird way where you’re stalking prospects to get a next step scheduled. I just mean that at the end of every single interaction with a prospect, you should always be scheduling that next step.

Send out that calendar invite. If the prospect is unwilling to schedule a next step in your current meeting, then chances are there’s something wrong. You want to be totally committed to always establishing that next step.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #8: They know it’s a game.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #8: They know it’s a game.

Selling is like a game of tennis. Sometimes the ball lands in the way you are hoping, other times it doesn’t. It’s not a big deal. If you lose a point, you lose a point—and that’s what a sale is. Just a point. It’s not the whole game.

Top salespeople understand this. They know sales is just a game. You’ve got to have that same mindset—sometimes a sale goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. Who cares?

Competitive people make great salespeople, but only if they’re competitive in the right way. Not competitive as in a sore sport who throws their tennis racket when the game doesn’t go their way, but instead competitive as in they just want to win. They love the game. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the game to go in their direction. But they also know that sometimes they’re going to lose—and that’s just fine.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #9: They enjoy it.

Why Top Salespeople Succeed #9: They enjoy it.

Top salespeople enjoy the process of selling. They legitimately enjoy what they’re doing. They’re having fun, they’re not angry when a prospect disappears. They just want to understand why. They’re not angry when they don’t close a sale. They may be bummed out in the moment, but they know it’s part of the process and they enjoy the process.

They enjoy generating leads, they enjoy closing deals, they enjoy onboarding people, they enjoy getting referrals to other people. They enjoy the whole process. And the more you can enjoy the process and not just the outcome of the sale and the money it generates for you, the more successful you will be.

9 reasons why top salespeople succeedSo there you have it. Now you know 9 reasons why top salespeople succeed. Which of these ideas did you find most useful in your own selling approach? Be sure to comment below to join the conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoyed this article? Please share away!
Get instant access to our free sales training:

Why Prospects Push Back on Price, Give 'Think-It-Overs,' and Ghost in Sales Until They Meet a Sales Superstar Who Is Following These 7 Simple Keys

9 reasons why top salespeople succeed

About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

Related Articles

Sales Management Training 9 Keys to Building a High-Velocity Sales Team

Sales Management Training: 9 Keys for a High-Velocity Team

Declined What to Do When a Prospect Cancels Your Meeting

Declined: What to Do When a Prospect Cancels Your Meeting

Sales Quiz: Can You Answer These 9 Questions Correctly?

Sales Quiz: Can You Answer These 9 Questions Correctly?

10 Things Sales Prospects Hate About You [Or Most Salespeople]

10 Things Sales Prospects Hate About You [Or Most Salespeople]

sales statistics

18 New Sales Statistics for 2022 from Our Groundbreaking Study!


5 Steps to Closing the Sale Faster [Don’t Let It Slip Through the Cracks!]