Sales Professionals Without This Trait Will Keep Failing

9 min read
Aug 11, 2022

What if I told you the reason you are failing to hit your sales goals is not because of your sales process or techniques? 

What if I said you are not winning because you lack the most critical character trait for sales success?

Believe it or not, there is a single trait that determines whether you are in the top 1% or the bottom 99%.

Without this trait:

  • Prospects control you
  • You fail to hit sales goals
  • You fail to grow your business (and feel miserable in the process)

To prove it, I am breaking down the most critical character trait for sales success.

More importantly, I am sharing how you can develop the trait yourself.

Become a powerful sales pro, hit your goals, and grow your business.


The Trait 1% of Sales Pros Have & 99% of Do Not Have


There are many significant differences between how the 1% sell versus the 99%.

However, the most significant difference is level of assertiveness.

The most successful sales professionals are the most assertive, while the other 99% vary from totally unassertive to semi-assertive.

The hard truth is you cannot succeed in sales without assertiveness.


Top Sales Pros Are More Assertive Than Everyone Else

Being assertive is about advocating for yourself.

It is about being bold and confident in your actions to achieve what you know you need to accomplish.

Top sales professionals are assertive in everything they do.

They always act with boldness, whether coordinating with the sales team, making cold calls, or delivering pitches.

Contrary to popular belief, assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness!

People who are assertive act boldly; they are not afraid to do what they need to do and say what they need to say.

On the other hand, aggressive people get angry and violent to coerce people.

Do not get it twisted: Assertiveness and aggressiveness are categorically different.


The Bottom 99% of Sales Pros Do Not Advocate for Themselves.

Like I said, the bottom 99% of sales pros vary from completely unassertive to semi-assertive.

Instead of confidently advocating for themselves and what they want, they back into a corner.

As a result, they struggle to hit sales quotas, satisfy customers, and feel good about themselves.

Moreover, they almost never get what they want.

Who do you think will advocate for you if you do not advocate for yourself?


They Think Being Assertive Will Turn Potential Customers Off

Why are the bottom 99% of sales pros unassertive?

Why don’t they change their ways after realizing being unassertive is not doing them well?

Non-assertive salespeople choose not to be assertive because they fear assertiveness turns potential customers away.

They think being assertive reflects poorly on them and therefore makes customers unlikely to make a purchasing decision.

However, this could not be further from the truth.

The truth is prospects:

  1. Want you to be assertive
  2. Never negatively judge salespeople for being assertive (that is, when they assert themselves the right way!)

Closed sales deals and trusting customer relationships require assertiveness to succeed.


Prospects Want You to Be Assertive


Do not think for one second that prospects do not want you to be assertive!

Do not think for even a millisecond that being assertive will turn prospects away.

The truth is prospects want you to be assertive.

Even though they will not say it aloud, prospects want to work with assertive sales professionals.

They want to work with assertive sales pros for two primary reasons, including:

  1. Assertiveness is evidence of confidence
  2. Confidence of a sign of competence

Being assertive → proves confidence → is evidence of competence.

Again, prospects will never admit they want to work with assertive people.

But, just because they do not say it does not mean they do not want it.


Prospects Do Not Want People Who Are Not Confident in Themselves

First, being assertive proves you are confident.

Prospects only want to work with sales professionals who are confident in themselves.

If the sales pro is confident, that shows they believe what they are saying.

Moreover, it proves the salesperson genuinely believes they can help the prospect overcome pain points to achieve their goals.

Assertiveness proves to prospects you are confident in yourself and therefore worthy of their confidence.


Prospects Only Want Competent Experts

Second, being assertive proves you are confident.  Very confident people come across as highly competent experts.

Ultimately, prospects want experts more than anyone to solve their pain points.

Prospects suspect somebody is competent by their level of confidence.

Think of a surgeon who shows they are highly confident: Patients will believe the doctor is competent enough to perform a risky operation.

The patient barely knows the doctor, yet they are willing to put their life in the surgeon’s hands.

You can be the most competent person in the world, but nobody will know or even care about you unless you are confident.

Unfortunately for you, prospects are unwilling to work with anyone who is not an expert.

Furthermore, being assertive → proves confidence → is evidence of competence.


Here Is What Happens When You Become Assertive in Sales


Are you still on the fence about assertiveness?

Are you still afraid that assertiveness is grounds for rejection?

Top sales professionals rely on assertiveness for success.

Yes, they have the sales processes, pitches, and cold call skills to back them up.  But those factors mean nothing without assertiveness!

Moreover, you can have all your ducks in a row and still fail if you are not assertive.

That said, here is what happens when you start being assertive.


Fewer Leads Ghost You

First, every sales pro knows the feeling of getting ghosted.

It feels terrible to go all-out to convert a prospect only to have them ghost you at some point in the sales process.

Sales pros who are assertive almost never get ghosted.


Because they show that they mean business.

Moreover, assertive people show that they are serious business professionals who demand respect.  Because of this, prospects are less likely to pull the rug out and ghost.

On the other hand, unassertive people come across as meek.  Because of this, prospects do not feel guilty ghosting them.


Fewer Prospects Make Objections and Calls for Negotiation

Second, prospects make fewer objections when you are assertive. They are also less likely to negotiate price.

The fewer objections and calls for negotiation that prospects make, the greater the odds of the:

  • Deal closing
  • Sales process moving faster
  • Prospect being satisfied

Prospects view assertive salespeople as experts in their field.  They are unlikely to question or counter an expert.

Think of it like this: Patients perceive assertive surgeons as experts in their field. Because of this, you almost never see patients try to negotiate surgical bills.  

Additionally, you never see a patient object to the surgeon’s surgical methods or techniques.

Moreover, top-tier surgeons are perceived as experts because they are assertive. As a result, patients do not object to their methods or even think about negotiating with them.

Start thinking of yourself as an expert surgeon!

Unless you want to be objected to and appealed to negotiate 24/7, you must assert yourself.


You Close More Sales Deals Faster

Ultimately, you close more sales deals in less time the more assertive you are.

You waste less time when you are assertive because you tell it like it is.  You never beat around the bush.

Moreover, you tell prospects what they need and want to hear when they need to hear it to close the sales process sooner (with a signed deal, of course).

Shorter sales processes lead to more closed sales deals because they give prospects less time to overthink their decision.  

The more time prospects have to overthink, the less likely they are to close!

Furthermore, you close more sales deals in less time, thanks to being assertive.


How to Start Being Assertive to Close More Deals in Less Time


The way you become more assertive is by acting like you are assertive.

Therefore, start acting assertive NOW to get the results you want.

At first, you might feel uncomfortable acting assertively because your actions will not align with how you feel on the inside.

However, your feelings will eventually rise up to align with your actions.  

The more you act assertively, the more you convince yourself that you actually are assertive.  The more you convince yourself you are assertive, the more assertive you become in reality.

Furthermore, here is how to start acting like an assertive sales professional to achieve more success than ever.

Remember, you can have all your ducks in a row and still fail if you are not assertive.


Talk 10% and Listen 90%

Contrary to popular belief, assertive people talk significantly less than unassertive people.

People who never let you get a word in come across as insecure; it is as if they are surrounding themselves with a wall or words for protection.

Do you think prospects want to work with unassertive, insecure people?  No.

Therefore, talk 10% and listen 90%.

Also, make sure what you say matters to the conversation.

Do not go off on random tangents talking about things that do not matter to the prospect.

Instead, speak intentionally when necessary and listen the rest of the time.


ALWAYS Have a Clear Ask

Every assertive salesperson has a clear ask for each step of the sales process.

An ask is an objective.  It is what you are asking the prospect to do to keep the sales process moving.

For example, the ask of an initial cold call is always the discovery meeting.  The objective is not to sell your deliverable but to get the prospect to agree to the discovery call.

Additionally, the ask of a final sales pitch is getting the prospect to sign on the dotted line.

You come across as anything but assertive without an ask.  It appears you either do not know what you are doing or are too unconfident to ask for what you want.

On the other hand, assertive sales pros with a clear ask come across as confident and competent.

Furthermore, enter each phase of the sales process with an ask to assert.


Reach Out Every 12 to 24 Hours

Following up with cold prospects every 12 to 24 hours is an assertive (and successful) salesperson must.

Prospect did not respond to your initial cold call? Pick up the phone and call back 12 hours later.

Did the prospect not answer your message after the discovery call? Pick up the phone immediately.

Most salespeople get tripped-up here: They feel they are being overbearing and invasive by following assertively.

However, the truth is:

  1. Prospects do not care how often you follow up.
  2. Prospects will not respect you unless you assertively follow-up.
  3. You will lose the prospect unless you assertively follow-up.

Do not believe you are being invasive unless the prospect tells you that.

Then, follow up in another 24 hours!


Point at the Elephants in the Room

Unassertive people tend to beat around the bush.

When the prospect has a clear and potentially detrimental problem, they avoid discussing it in detail.

They avoid talking about it in detail because they do not want the prospect to:

  • Feel pushed
  • Feel insecure
  • Be too afraid to tackle the issue

Here is the thing: You cannot avoid discussing difficult problems! You are there to solve them, after all.

You MUST confront any elephants in the room. Assertive people never avoid having difficult conversations.

However, you must discuss problems the right way.

The key is to dive into problems without making prospects feel bad about them.

For example, never say, ‘Wow, that is a major issue, why have you not solved it yet?’.

Instead, point out the problem like an assertive salesperson does by saying, ‘Hey, I see you have this problem on your hands. What do you think about it?’.

The idea is to point your finger at the problem and then ask a question. That way, you point out the problem without making the customer feel you are bashing them.

Again, never beat around the bush with the prospect.  ALWAYS discuss the elephant in the room.


Get the Prospect Thinking Bigger

Assertive people do not hold back when they have important ideas.

Unassertive people often have great ideas but rarely talk about them.

For example, many unassertive salespeople have fantastic strategies to help prospects overcome their problems.  However, they are afraid asserting grand ideas will turn prospects off.

On the flip side, assertive salespeople have grand ideas and are not afraid to drop them into the universe.

They put out grand master plans without hesitation to get prospects thinking bigger.

By that, I mean they get prospects excited about what they could accomplish if they solve their problems.

For example, assertive salespeople make sales pitches showing prospects that they could dominate their industry if they follow their lead.

Moreover, assertive salespeople get prospects believing they have major potential to succeed.

You are doing yourself and your potential customers a disservice by not going all out.

Remember, many of your prospects live boring lives.  Nothing shakes their world up more than making them think they have the potential to achieve more.


Final Thoughts on The Trait You Need to Succeed in Sales


Simply put, you will not succeed in sales without assertiveness.

Without assertiveness, prospects will run you over, you will fail to close deals, and your business will stagnate (AKA, you will be one inch away from failure).

Nobody is born assertive; it is a developed trait.

That said, develop assertiveness to achieve sales, business, and life success.  You will never get what you want without it.

Win more deals. Grow your business.

Get more prospects, more sales, and higher-paying clients fast, so you can take your business to the next level.

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