Top performing sales people stand out from their average performing peers and colleagues. They do things differently and exhibit several different characteristics.

Here are ten characteristics of top performing sales people.

1. Top performing sales people set big goals.

They don’t wait for their boss or company to establish sales quotas and targets. They take a proactive approach and set big, challenging goals. They make sure their goals are specific, motivational, achievable yet challenging, relevant to their personal situation, and time-framed. They visualize their target, determine how they will achieve their goal, and take daily action to achieve those goals.

2. Top performers ask high-value questions.

The best sales people ask lots of quality questions to fully determine their customer’s situation and buying needs. They know that the most effective way to present their product or service is to uncover their customer’s goals, objectives, concerns and hesitations and they know the only way to achieve this is to ask tough, penetrating questions that make their prospect think.

3. Top sales people are enthusiastic.

They are always in a positive mood – even during difficult times – and their enthusiasm is contagious. They seldom talk poorly of the company or the business. When faced with unpleasant or negative situations, they choose to focus on the positive elements instead of allowing themselves to be dragged down.

4. Top sellers are hard workers.

Top sales people are assertive in getting new business and they go after it. They often start work earlier than their colleagues, spend less time on social chit-chat and work later than everyone else. They make more calls, prospect more consistently, talk to more people, and give more sales presentations than their coworkers.

5. Top performers are persistent.

Obstacles loom in front of us on a regular basis. But it’s what you do when faced with these barriers that will determine your level of success. The most successful sales people in any industry tackle the obstacles that get in their way. They look for new solutions. They are tenacious. They refuse to give up.

6. Top sales people are great listeners.

Contrary to popular belief, telling is not selling. Top performers know that customers will tell them everything they need to know if given the right opportunity. They have learned that silence is golden. Compare that to the average sales person who asks a question then gives their customer the answer or continues to talk afterwards instead of waiting for the other person’s response.

7. Top sales people demonstrate the value of their product or service.

Top sales people know that a well-informed buyer will usually base much of her decision on the value proposition presented by the sales person. They know how to create this value with each customer, prospect, or buyer they encounter. Too many sales people think that price is the only motivating buying factor. Top sales people recognize that price is a factor in every sale but they know that it is seldom the primary reason someone makes their decision.

8. Top performing sales people have lots of passion.

They love their company and they exude this pride when talking about their products and services. The more passionate you are about your career, the greater the chance you will succeed. Here’s why—when you love what you do you put more effort into your work. When you are passionate about the products or services you sell, your enthusiasm will shine through in every conversation.

9. Top sales people hold themselves accountable.

They know that their actions alone will determine their results and they do what is necessary to achieve their goals. They never blame internal problems, the economy, tough competitors, or other factors if they fail to meet their sales quotas.

10. Top performing sales people keep in touch with their clients.

They know that regular contact helps keep clients so they send thank-you, birthday, and anniversary cards. They make phone calls and schedule regular ‘keep in touch’ breakfast and lunch meetings. They send articles of value to their customers and are constantly looking for new and creative ways to keep their name in their customers’ minds.

Anyone in sales can develop these characteristics. It takes effort, energy, and discipline but the end result can be worth it especially when you consider how much more money top performing sales people make compared to the average sales person. And you don’t want to be average do you?