The secret to a company’s success, under any economic condition, lies in its personnel. There are three personality traits that senior executives should look at in their sales force, whether they are looking at new hires, or at retaining employees–Talent, Timing and Tenacity.

TALENT -means an individual shows up on a sales call with the correct preparation and the correct skill set to do a competent sales call.

This talent isn’t necessarily innate; however, with the proper training and coaching it can be developed and improved upon. Everyone needs additional training, regardless of how long they have been doing their job. I have heard Presidents/CEOs say to me, “I don’t need sales training services; I only hire ‘experienced salespeople’.”

In other words, these Executives think their salespeople are as good as they can get. I doubt it, and I know for a fact they could be better– they need to be better if they want to keep up with their competition. But they won’t be able to learn anything new unless they are encouraged to improve.

Fortune 100 companies such as IBM, NCR, and Automatic Data Processing continuously provide sales training to all their salespeople, and this includes weeks of sales management training.

President/CEOS need to emphasize constant improvement of talent. Reliance on the status quo isn’t enough.

In these times, just look at:, and –sales talent is at a premium. Deals are still being made.

It is the talented that go out and find more deals, digging under rocks and mud to find new deals. With the right training, salespeople can be finding these deals.


All salespeople need to have their timing just right.

They have to know when to make those difficult cold calls, when to speak on a sales call and when to keep their mouths closed and keep listening.

1.) They must learn to be patient. (Selling prematurely can jeopardize a deal.)

2.) They must know when to give pricing, and when to hold onto pricing until they have met face-to-face with all the decision makers.

3.) They have to learn when not to talk about products, or when to not talk at all-something that is tougher than it looks because on the surface talking is sometimes easier than listening.

4.) They have to be comfortable enough to let a sales call breathe, and allow pauses in between their questions.

5.) They have to be observers of what is not being said. (Sometimes a gesture may say more than words.)

I have been on many sales calls observing, as well as modeling, the skill of timing. It is amazing how many experienced salespeople haven’t yet perfected the correct timing on a sales call. The most common mistake, that is easily corrected, is the salesperson’s timing is off on when to ‘sell’ their product or service.

On a first sales call many people do not ask sufficient enough or complex enough questions about a prospect’s business, and when there is a lull, they sadly do it incorrectly and start talking about their products and services.


The three T’s were not listed in order of importance, because they are equally important, Tenacity is a trait that some believe people are exclusively born with, but I disagree. I learned this skill myself through training and observing other top salespeople.

1.) Part of tenacity is knowing when to be tenacious.

A successful salesperson needs to be tenacious about getting every good prospect that is out there.

2.) Not every deal, but the ‘right’ deals.

Unfortunately, I have been on sales calls where a salesperson was working hard to get into a prospect for years, only to find out that the prospect only had a very small value\profit.  Some inefficient salespeople tend to exert the same amount of tenacity and work effort to sell each and every deal– don’t do this!

The Tenacity has to be combined with the Talent to rank prospective deals. in regards to each of the prospective deals monetary or referral/name value. Salespeople must calculate how much effort to exert  chasing any one deal, based on its’ profitability. All deals are not the same.

Salespeople need to be tenacious to close deals that they discover to be good fits for their firm, and not allow stalls or competition to throw them off their game. (This is Talent.)

Many times the real selling doesn’t really begin until salespeople have left their first appointments, and the combination of Talent, Tenacity and Timing all come into play as they have to follow up and close the deals.

With the right combination of all three T’s, one doesn’t need to rely on merely luck.

As always, good luck, and good selling. Follow me on Twitter

Do not re-produce in any form without written permission from Deborah Gavello

© Copyright 2016 Gavello and Associates

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