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Become a Sales Pro Improve your sales by adopting the 10 characteristics of successful salespeople.

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In analyzing people who are most successful at persuading, convincing or selling others on their ideas, products or services, I've found 10 characteristics that appear to be common among them. Read through this list and see how many apply to you now. If you don't find these characteristics in your current bag of traits, consider adopting them in order to hear "yes" more often in your life.

1. A Burning Desire to Prove Something to Someone
A professional in any type of business has a strong reason for wanting to succeed. My reason was to prove myself to my parents. I quit college after 90 days, knowing that formal education wasn't for me. My parents had high hopes for me and were quite disappointed. My dad told me, "Your mother and I will always love you, even though you'll never amount to anything." That was my first motivational talk, and it kindled my desire to become the best and prove something to my parents. What are you trying to prove? And to whom? You must know why you've chosen your particular business.

2. An Interest in Others
You must truly be interested in other people and in making those people's lives better if you are to succeed in business. You must learn how to draw others out, making them feel important and getting to know them well enough to determine how you can help.

3. Confidence and Strength
Professionals radiate confidence and strength in the way they walk and talk and in their overall presence. They have good posture. They wear their clothing well. They use positive body language. If you're not sure this is you, ask someone you trust to evaluate you and provide some suggestions for improvement.

4. Empathy
You must balance your own personal ego and need for success with warmth and sincerity. Your sincere interest in the happiness of the people you come in contact with creates bonds of trust that allow you to serve not only your prospects, but their friends, relatives and acquaintances that'll be referred to you.

5. A Focus on Goals
If you're serious about your business, you've set your goals and put them in writing. You know exactly what you're striving for and when you expect to accomplish it. Knowing how your future will look helps keep you focused on doing what's productive each day.

6. Persistence
Professionals plan their time most effectively to take steps toward achieving their goals. They rely on proven systems for planning their time and have learned effective time-management strategies.

7. Enthusiasm Through Difficult Situations
The past can't be changed and the future can't be controlled, so you must live for today, doing the best you can to make each day a day of accomplishment and fulfillment. When you encounter a difficult situation that's draining your enthusiasm, lay it out clearly in your mind or on paper. Then step back from it and let your emotions shift to normal. Then take another look at the situation with a clear head. You'll be pleasantly surprised in most cases that it really isn't as bad as you thought.

8. A Positive Attitude
Keep yourself in a positive shell and avoid jealousy, gossip, anger and negative thinking. Don't allow negativity to steal your energy or tempt you to stray from your chosen course.

9. An Understanding that People Come Before Money
Successful businesspeople love others and use money instead of loving money and using people. They understand the old adage that you have to spend money to make money, and that persuasion is a people business. They invest wisely in things for the good of the people they serve.

10. An Investment in Their Minds
Business professionals are lifelong learners. Congratulations! I know you have this trait simply because you're reading this article. Set a goal to be a lifelong learner, and you'll never have a dull moment. Plus, you'll achieve tremendous success in whatever you set your mind to studying!

Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as "the builder of sales champions." For the past 30 years, he's provided superior sales training through his company, Tom Hopkins International.

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