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Be a Selling Superstar

How can you make sure you shine in your customers' eyes? Adopt the top 5 traits clients say their favorite salespeople share.

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This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Over the past 15 years, I've gained a lot of insight from interviewing my customers' customers. After talking to the heads of sales organizations, I ordinarily ask them to provide me with the names of three of their top salespeople. I interview these top reps to learn more about their industry, and then I ask them for some of their own customers to interview. What makes these customers so qualified to describe the attributes of a top performer is that they've been sold to by the best in the industry. Based on those interviews, here are the top five traits found in the best salespeople.

1. Focusing on the customer: Here's what one customer told me: "A good rep approaches the sale from what you need to get your business going. They'll often help you by showing you examples of what other people have done to be successful. They're not after the quick sale; they want a long-term relationship. They help you come up with ideas that are outside their product or service. Unfortunately, with most reps, you get the feeling they're more self-serving than customer-serving."

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