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Some Assembly Required

You don't get the perfect salesperson by throwing together whatever's handy. Lean in close, and we'll give you a peek at the manual.

This story appears in the August 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Look! It's a man! It's a woman! No, it's Supersalesperson-that individual who leaps sales quotas with a single bound, stops customer complaints faster than a speeding bullet and is more powerful than 10 salespeople put together. Of Messianic stature, Supersalesperson is the deliverer of the capitalist's promised land and the paradigm against whom all are judged.

Alas, this superhero is but a fancy. Yet at rare moments we see a glimmer of Supersalesperson inside those who, by luck and pluck, possess a generous portion of the qualities we attribute to the fantastically great. They may flow, as does the sales pitch. We see them radiate from an employee's open eyes and in the head tilted toward us, listening ever so closely. But when all is said and done, the power of greatness comes not from sight, speech or attentiveness. Rather, it emanates from the mind and heart, giving the salesperson an insatiable appetite to learn. And it's this appetite that feeds the remaining characteristics, ultimately shaping success.

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