The Psychology of A Champion Salesperson

What makes a great sales team member?

That’s a question those of us in our business seek the perfect answer to daily, so I loved reading a post recently from the folks at Software Advice on The New Talent Times that broke down the Psychological Profiles of the Dream Team.

Authors Holly Regan, Dr. James Maynard, and Don Fornes broke down the profile of “The Champ,” the high-performing, ultra-competitive, people-loving driver. I highly recommend checking it out. The authors give some really interesting thoughts on what might mold Champs, and why those experiences make them such great salespeople:

“They’re also extremely skilled at reading people—a skill which often comes from their upbringing. Maybe a parent taught them. Or maybe their home life wasn’t quite perfect, and they had to learn at a young age how to understand and deal with the imperfections of the adults around them.

Either way, they gained confidence in their ability to handle interpersonal interactions early on, and it’s served them well throughout their lives and careers. This little bit of ego makes them believe in themselves, the products they sell and the companies they work for.”

Naturally, these people are perfect for sales, politics, and C-suite executive rolls. I could not agree more with Dr. Maynard and Ms. Regan.

At Acquirent, our business revolves around finding as many “Champs” as we can get our hands on for our clients and managing them effectively. Unfortunately, every sales person we hire isn’t a Champ by Dr. Maynard and Mr. Regan’s definition. We may feel they have the makings of a future Champ, but we need to mold them.

We believe in finding sales professionals with high levels of “Sales DNA.” These candidates display high levels of internal drive, competitiveness (we hire many high level athletes), “grit,” and communications skills (the ability to ask great questions, and to shut up and listen to the response).

Many of them are very early in their sales career and are more Champs-in-training or Junior Champs.


Provide a great sales environment

Many companies hire the right sales talent, but simply don’t put them in position to succeed. How much does environment matter? Do you think Tom Brady would be TOM BRADY if he had been drafted by Oakland? How about trying to imagine Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher suiting up for the Detroit Lions?

Yeah, I don’t want to either. My point is, environment matters.

Back to sales. I see organizations put people in the wrong environments all the time. They hire the right people, then place them in an open air office where you can hear a pin drop, where they are the only one on the phone all day. Not great for cranking out cold calls.

Give positive, constructive feedback early and often

If a sales professional is a Champ in training, they’re going to have a bit of an ego. That said, the sales profession – and its inherent rejection – can seriously bruise a young champ’s ego. You can soften the bruise through positive feedback. It’s not the same as a sale, but it helps.

Train, train, train

Though many Champs are independent, they still need training and support to help them achieve sales success. Don’t be afraid to sit with your young sales professionals and give them managerial support…not micromanagement.

I hope these tips help you as you go to find your next Champ and groom your Junior Champs!

Happy Selling!