15 Essential Traits Of the Top 1% in Peak Performance

15 Essential Traits Of the Top 1% in Peak Performance

In this economy especially, it has become critically important to hire the best of the best.  You must be rigorous and disciplined in assessing future team members to ensure the people you are recruiting truly fit and will help you carry the company into the future. 

Our most recent podcast guest, Marcus Chan of Venli Consulting, suggests the center of this effort must be the search for clear indicators candidates are disciplined in organization and process.  He calls the ideal candidate a “POGPOG”.  Read on and listen to our recent podcast to find out more. 

Proven Track Record

Most of those hiring put this first on their list.  It is essential you know they have “been there, done that”.  Marcus likes to see Brag Books, recommendations from others, AND social proof.

It has become essential those we hire in sales today have created a personal, professional brand that resonates with the clientele you will be seeking to access.  You have to be able grab their attention, and someone who has intentionally built a well thought out social footprint is going to help your company and talent brand tremendously.

Obsessed with Achievement

In everything they do, we want to see professionals with big goals in mind – income goals, revenue goals, personal and professional achievement targets, etc.  We expect they will have high expectations of themselves and their team.

Look for those who will do whatever it takes, within the bounds of integrity, to make great things happen for the company, their clients, and, as an adjunct, themselves.  The philosophy of “Do.  There is not Try” (Yoda) has to be their mantra.


Once goals are set and objectives established, challenges will show up….The common thread woven into most great lives is an ability to overcome adversity and use barriers and obstacles to success as instructional and motivational.  Top talent will be able to demonstrate an unswerving devotion to the cause and professional persistence to achieve goals, not just despite the barriers, but sometimes because of them.

We tend to believe factors beyond our control play key roles in our success. Things like IQ, household incomes, family upbringing, fate, looks, bosses or the prestige of the school we’ve attended, etc.  But in 2009, Angela Duckworth — a former middle school teach turned psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania — found these factors didn’t matter nearly as much as something she called “grit”.

Grit, as Duckworth describes it, is passion and relentless perseverance towards a very long-term goal. It’s the determination to continue working despite obstacles you face along the way.

She looked at education in New York’s worst schools, top performing sales teams, national spelling bee competitors and even West Point Military Cadets.  She was looking to understand why the smartest were not at the top, and some of the less intelligent outperformed everyone; her data pointed out the best performers were always the grittiest.

BE CLEAR:  hard work itself is not the distinguishing factor of grit. There are a lot of very hard workers that do not reach levels of preeminent success.  So, what makes for good grit?  Duckworth summed it up in three qualitative equations she actually quantified in her work:




The nitty gritty on becoming truly gritty is this:  you must have a very specific focus on the goal that drives so much passion out of you that you are willing to give it the grind it will take to get there…. See your great future in front of you and  pursue that future with relentless perseverance and passion.

Look for folks who are intensely focused and relentlessly driven.  Find those who are gritty!

Positive mindset

The cacophony of negative news around the Corona virus and racial tensions could make even the most positive among us wander into the dark corners of thought and stay there way too long.  Yet, as in everything, you can choose to look on the bright side.

Seek out those who understand an intelligent approach to thriving, especially in crisis, requires that informed, positive thinking dominates your mind.  Positivity can be a real super power.  It provides keys for unlocking the organization’s peak potential and making the most of the days, even in what is decidedly a very difficult situation.

While this time may mean many are enduring lack of immediate success, others are taking it as an opportunity to consistently improve and learn new and innovative ways to respond.  Some have spent this time lamenting the loss of their usual income, while others have created new enterprises and amplified motivational voices in such a way it is clear they are building a bright future.  In interviews, find those who thrive in helping carry teammates and community members to new heights.

You will also want to ensure their positivity is realistic and rational, so ensure they understand the balance between being visionary and upbeat while using facts through intentional effort.  They should be response-able for shaping an optimistic view point and have demonstrated choices throughout their career that clearly indicate they can endure.

The world remains full of possibility.  Today, look for those who cultivate a climate of optimism, for yourself and others, and expect that great things will happen…then can make them happen.

Organized thinking and routines

Self-discipline is your daily fork in the road.  An individual’s ability to understand it and enforce it, with rigor, consistently, will make a monumental difference in the performance of your team.

Seek out candidates who understand mastery of self leads to real freedom and will help fast track them toward peak performance.  All success is attained, in large part, through the application of rigor.

Every goal your team is set to achieve and every dream you hope your organization will manifest all require the enforcement of self-discipline, self-control and self-awareness….or great personal rigor.  This requires organized, or disciplined, thinking and a clear set of routines that can be adjusted when indicated.

Find those people who spend the first part of each day getting clarity around goals and establish corresponding activities detailing the individual tasks that will help exceed them.  They must be SMART – Specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented and time bound.

Look for those with the right forward focus allowing them to avoid the unnecessary, minimize impulsivity and eliminate the time suck of the attention whirlwinds that circle around us all the time.  The pathway to mediocrity – the one most traveled – is filled with people who give into the tyranny of the urgent versus having a long term vision.

Organized think and rigor are the smartest, simplest and fastest ways to make life as easy and enjoyable as possible.  Find those who in the power of your goal, embrace the importance of rigor, understand the result of real process is reaching the goal, and are confident anything is possible if the team builds skills and applies GRIT!

Game changers and GOATs

The one constant and dramatic force in our life is change. Everything is in the process of becoming something else. Change happens everywhere and with everyone, constantly. In our lives, change is the one constant that we can be absolutely sure of….So seek out those who live each day acknowledging this and initiating positive change on a regular basis,

There are three main factors directing change in our life: choice, chance and crisis. All three carry power and have their own particular dynamic. Of the three, favor choice. Choice allows everyone on the team to be proactive in orchestrating change, versus having undesirable transformation just happen.  Initiating change through choice, will and practice is the path to constant and continuous improvement to create a better company and for the company to have positive impact on the world.

Search for those who embrace change as a constant reality and tool they can control, are vigilant in looking for changes that would help the team and others, and then are proactive in initiating them. In business, it is true no market stays the same year after year.  You are either gaining share or losing share. You are either innovating new products and gaining on your competition, or your competition is innovating new products and supplanting you. You are becoming either more competitive or less competitive. You are either gaining customers or losing logos.

If things are going well, you may choose to make no changes and run your business exactly as you have in the past. The marketplace, however, is not static. Then world is ever changing.  It is a constant system of development, improvement, degradation and adaptation.

By not initiating change, you may easily fall behind. We usually don’t make changes when things are going well, and that is often a problem.  We must pay homage to the change agents; they demand change, and if we do not initiate change, life, competitors, compatriots and bosses will initiate it for us.

As to the GOATs – the greatest of all time – we all want the best of the best on our team.  None of us think we are going to interview for mediocrity.  We do not want pack players.  But what really makes someone the best in class?

That’s is Chan’s POGPOG formula. In his article, The 10 Characteristics of the Top 1% of Sales Performers, he goes on to describe top talent as those who, in addition to the above, also consistently display the following:

Creativity: The absolute top sales professionals know that their solution is not always a “one size fits all.” They are creative in finding a way to modify either the solution or presentation to influence the close. They are creative in thinking of different solutions within the parameters of their role to be successful. They are also the ones that open up new industries to sell into or new applications of existing products and services.

High Emotional Intelligence: This is a big one – top sales pro’s have a massive amount of social and self awareness. They know how to change and modify how they carry themselves to increase trust with prospects and to gain their business. This is especially important in complex sales processes with multiple buying influences.  Greatness is determined by being deeply, emotionally committed and loving what you do.  Being emotionally committed to a cause, project, or problem enables you to go to a place others are afraid to go, to try things others are unwilling to try, and to be the kind of person others are afraid to be.

Self-Starting: The one-percenters are not going to sit around and wait; they are the first to take action and they are constantly on the move to see what they can do to progress a sale forward. They are constantly thinking about their funnel and what they need to do to grow it!

Growth Minded: Top sales professionals are not content with just doing the basics. They are focused on constantly growing their skill sets to become a better version of themselves. They are focused on what else can they learn to become better at their craft, which ultimately leads to a humble mindset.

Compassionate: They care – they truly do care. They care about their prospects, their reputation, their brand, and all the people they work with to deliver their solution. To them, providing a mediocre product is unacceptable as it is their name on it!

Passionate: Top sales professionals flow with passion! No matter what they are selling, they are passionate and that can be seen from the first interaction with the prospect to the closing. A big reason why people love to buy from them is because of their PASSION!

Ownership Mentality: “Accountability” is not a “bad” word in the mind of a top sales professional. They believe they have full ownership for their results and everything else. If they have a bad month, they don’t blame anyone else but themselves. No matter the result, no matter the circumstances, they always take full ownership and accountability and that is why they are successful.

High Coachability: At the end of the day, no matter how good they are, they can always take feedback whether it is from their sales leader or their customers. AND they can execute on the feedback. They are willing to put the ego aside and be coachable no matter the circumstances!

At CercaTalent+, we agree with Marcus and might add that the GOATs are:

Self Aware:  The ones truly great by any reasonable measure have a real presence about them – a sense of power and conviction that transcends current circumstances or their position.  Unlike most, they know who they really are, deep inside, what they were born to do, and why they truly exist.  They recognize they are free to pursue their highest ideal once they have crafted certainty around their purpose.  Remember, the one looking out the window is only a dreamer, while the one who searches deep inside awakens the giant within.

Marcus is giving a ton of His work away for free at https://www.marcuschan.io/resources-1.  He says, those that become 100% committed to his processes will have a 100% success rate, and we agree.

If you have not already, please take the opportunity to connect with Marcus on LinkedIn, and please let him know that you heard this on the Talent + Talks Podcast with Scott Rivers.

Links from our Podcast:

Marcus’ LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/MarcusChan/

Marcus Company: https://skaled.com/

Also, if you haven’t connected with Scott, please connect with him on LinkedIn.  You can find him here:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottrivers/

Cerca Talent:  https://www.cercatalent.com

You might be wondering – “what the heck is ‘Venli’ and who the heck is Marcus?”

Great question – Venli Consulting Group is a Portland, Oregon based sales coaching and consulting firm that works directly with sales professionals, aspiring sales professionals, small business owners, large business owners, and essentially anyone who wants to take their sales skills to a MAXIMUM level. More specifically, here’s what we can do to help:

·      High performance sales coaching that will deliver results immediately!

·      World class PROVEN and field-tested sales training that actually works! (Every single methodology has been field-tested thousands of times and works! Nothing is theory!)

·      Online sales training program and tools that you can’t get anywhere else! (This is the sub-brand, 6-Figure Sales Academy!

·      Consult with you to build sales training systems that are scalable from as little as one to hundreds of sales reps!

Essentially, whether you are a salesperson or a company and you are FRUSTRATED with your B2B sales results, we can help you or your company with proven high performance sales systems!

His Mission?  To help 1 million sales professionals achieve their goals and dreams through high performance sales training!

Marcus Chan is the founder and president of Venli Consulting Group. He was born in the Pacific Northwest to two Chinese immigrant parents that came to America with dreams of building a future. Given the poor background he grew up in with his two sisters, they grew up in a scarce environment –  EVERYONE pitched in to survive.

With no financial help from his parents, he put himself through college and also earned his MBA a few years into the workforce. he eventually went to work for two international Fortune 500 companies over the next decade.


Within the next several years during his tenure with both companies, he was promoted ten different times in ten years, broke many sales records, won awards trips and trophies, hired/trained/coached/mentored hundreds of people, promoted to a Regional Director of Sales over 11 teams of 110+ employees for a $6.8B Fortune 500 organization, and was consistently recognized nationally as one of the top leaders in the organization every single year! As a result of his fortunate business success fueled by a little luck, a LOT of hustle, and PLENTY of mistakes…


Marcus eventually left the corporate world due to his passion of wanting to do something greater to give back to the world. He launched Venli Consulting Group in 2019 and has not look back since! Marcus currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Sara, and his son Roman.

If you or your company are ready to take your sales results to the next level, contact him using the information above.

CERCA Talent is a full-service Talent Firm with strategic focus in the areas of Life Sciences, Diagnostics, Genomics and Biotechnology.

Our clients choose to work with CERCA because of our deep understanding of the industries that we serve. They continue to work with us based on our knowledge and contacts which lead to amazing service to our clients. By working with the best clients, we are able to support them hiring the best talent in the industry.

Scott Rivers, is the Managing Director at Cerca Talent+, a Global Recruitment Solutions firm, where he directs the Diagnostics, Device and Genetics Talent Acquisition activities for the organization. Scott’s background as a recruiter, search firm owner and industry sales and marketing director, gives him an inequitable advantage in today’s talent market. Regarded as an expert in Talent Acquisition and Employment Technology, Scott has consulted some of the largest companies in the world on how best to implement talent acquisition strategies into daily practice.

Scott’s past experiences include senior sales and marketing roles at global organizations including Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson. His last industry position was the Global Director of Oncology Marketing at a Johnson & Johnson Company. There, he was responsible for all upstream and downstream marketing activities pertaining to the molecular oncology products of the organization.

#MarcusChan #ScottRivers #talenttalks #cercatalent #salesprocess #letsdothis

Published by

Scott Rivers

Helping clients acquire top talent for peak performance in the fields of Oncology, Genetics, Diagnostics and Life Sciences

While it may seem the current economy would make a plethora of great talent readily available, most we talk to are still struggling to find those that really fit and in whom they can be confident. It has become critically important to hire the best of the best. You must be rigorous and disciplined in assessing future team members to ensure the people you are recruiting will be a true asset to the team and will help you carry the company into the future.
Our most recent podcast guest, Marcus A. Chan, suggests the center of it all must be an effort to uncover clear indicators candidates are disciplined in organization and process. He calls the ideal candidate a “POGPOG” and shares the formula in our talk. We have detailed what a POGPOG is in the article. Read on and listen to our recent podcast to find out more.