CAP-values of great salespeople

Three Values Of Great Salespeople

When asked what makes a great salesperson, people will often cite characteristics such as listening, asking good questions and building rapport. All of these qualities can be found in the three values every great salesperson must possess—known as CAP.


Curiosity is the value that drives you to want to know why people are buying something. Why do some salespeople create rabid fans around buying their products and services when others do not? It’s because these salespeople add value.

Let’s pretend you have a paper clip company that sells plastic paper clips in 10 colors and three sizes. These paper clips are three-times more expensive than others on the market. The first salesperson, Jim, calls on clients and pushes the paper clips. He has yet to meet his sales numbers. The second salesperson, Jenny, goes in asking the business owners questions such as, “How important is organization to you?” “How and why could organization help your business be even better?” Jenny has learned to sell a simple clip as an organization system and innovation. Jenny is excellent at asking great open-ended questions and listening for the last word to help uncover value for the client in her products. In contrast, Jim is simply pushing paper clips.


Accountability is an attitude that exudes success. Have you ever tried to put together a piece of furniture without first reading the instructions? How long did it take you to build the furniture and how painful was it?

The best salespeople prepare in writing and are meticulous about preparing their territory plans, their meetings with target accounts, their opening client questions and so forth. The lesson learned here is that preparation is 90 percent of success and if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.

People Skills

Is it more important that you like the customer or that the customer likes you? Before you rush to answer the question, think about it a bit. How is the customer going to like you if you do not like them? Having a positive mental attitude and deciding to like everyone for something is a quality that is not only great in sales, but also in life. We spend much of our time interacting with people and if we do not do this well it can cause a lot of heartache. Many of the most successful salespeople create rapport and learn to mirror the behaviors of others for better understanding of their client and themselves. Your ability to create likeability is the first step in creating “trustability.” People buy from those they like; make sure you are likable.

Put on your sales CAP daily and you’ll begin to see a boost in relationships, in your numbers, and in your satisfaction as a salesperson.

John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of Reinventing Ralph. This article first appeared in PC Today, compiled by Cassandra Johnson.