I’m often asked about traits or characteristics of successful people. Whether you want to accumulate wealth, get in shape or accomplish something professionally, there are particular traits you must possess to do so. 

Here are some of the keys you will need if you want to be successful. This list is not exhaustive, nor in any particular order, but if you apply them, I like your chances. 

1. Blend outside with inside.

The most successful people I know have an external locus of learning, which means they search for high-quality information sources. How the information is delivered — written form, audio or video — is irrelevant. 
What is key is that the info comes from someone credible. I don’t take fitness advice from an out-of-shape physician, and I don’t take financial advice from someone who doesn’t have the net worth I do. That’s the outside part. 

The inside part involves reflecting on your actions and subsequent results, and then learning from those. If I haven’t closed my last five customer interactions, I have to reflect back and compare those interactions to the times when I was successful, or consider some of the new information that I’ve learned from my high-quality outside sources and figure out what I might be missing.

Blending high-quality external information with deep internal reflection can result in a powerful success combination. 

2. Delayed gratification.

Google the “Stanford marshmallow experiment” and you’ll discover some important information. In the 1960s and 1970s, university researchers conducted delayed gratification studies with a bunch of kids roughly five years old. Researchers put a treat of the child’s choice in front of him or her (a marshmallow, a cookie, a pretzel) and told them they could either eat it now, or if they waited 15 minutes they could have two treats. 

The kids who waited demonstrated a higher capacity for delayed gratification. Later in life, those same kids posted higher SAT scores, lower BMI indexes and ranked better-than-average on other life-satisfaction measures. 

So whether you are trying a new prospecting approach, or a new diet, or a savings plan, you must be willing to be patient. If you take the right actions regularly, good things will happen for you. 

3. Discipline becomes habit forming.

When you decide you want to be a high-performing salesperson (a mental shift, to be sure) you understand that you must discipline yourself to do such things as consistently capture key prospect information in your CRM.

At first, this will seem like a hassle, and it will require self-discipline to stick with it. But in time, that discipline becomes a habit. It will be what you do. And, perhaps more importantly, it will be who you are. You are a professional salesperson and this is what sales professionals do. It won’t require discipline anymore.

Look for more keys to success next time…