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Commercial Sales Training

Making the sale: what does it take?


By John Scarrott, trainer and coach

May 19, 2017 | 3 min read

If I asked you to name the top 10 qualities required to be successful at sales, what would you say?


What are your top sales qualities?

Recently I worked with a group of 20 professionals representing a range of industries to discuss this question. I gave them 20 qualities, (they could also insert their own) and asked them to come up with their top 10 and then rank them. Which four came out on top? Here were the four that all 20 agreed were their top qualities: listening, confidence, passion and clarity.

What do you see when you look at these? What thoughts come to mind, about you, about your team and about your business? Here are some thoughts I had about them.

It takes confidence to stay quiet

It takes more confidence to listen than it does to speak. Why? Well, in sales you might assume the speaker is the one in control. So if we’re not speaking, we feel we’re not in control. But in truth, it takes more confidence to ask a question and be genuinely interested in the response. Giving someone ‘a good listening to’ is tougher than we think. It takes control to pause and really take in what the other person is saying. It takes confidence to ignore that little voice that might be saying ‘you need to be talking.’

Passion and clarity go hand in hand

Passion and clarity work together in listening and speaking. When it comes to listening, you can find someone else’s passion and ask them what it means to them. Thus you help them get clear on what they believe and value. When it’s your turn to speak, clarity brings focus to your passion. And passion without clarity does not work, it’s a mess. And neither does clarity without passion, it’s too cold and logical.

Let your ears control your mouth

You’re so passionate about your idea it that you’re convinced it’s fully formed and ready. You forget to listen and miss the chance to improve it. Or you miss something that makes it a non-starter.

All of these qualities can be developed and learned. If you have a little of them in you to begin with, this is a great foundation to work on and develop. What more can you do to develop, encourage and harness these qualities and the energy that exists within your agency to create more of what you want?

John Scarrott is a trainer and coach working with marketing, design and creative agencies in areas of interpersonal communication that include selling and negotiating, meetings and presentations, speaking and networking. Find him at

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