The Secret of the One Percenters

Have you ever witnessed greatness? I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to personally watch some of the greatest athletes of all time. I’ve experienced the unrivaled performance of Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, and even Trevor Brazile (every blog needs a rodeo reference). I can testify to some of the greatest one percenters in sports.  

But who are the one percenters in sales? These are the elite in the field of selling, the perennial all-stars of the game. They are the top one percentile of those who call themselves sales people.

Year in and year out, they have the largest W2s, the highest customer loyalty, the best conversion rates, the most recruiters calling them, and the greatest job satisfaction. Many sales people go an entire lifetime without even shaking hands with this kind of immortal.

If finding these one percenters wasn’t hard enough, we dared to go a step further and try to learn what was it that make these super sales humans so “super”. What is the secret to winning at this level? Is there something in their selling DNA that has given them some genetic advantage over 99 percent of sales professionals?

In over 25 years of research, testing, and evaluation, we ruled out a few key attributes that may surprise you:

  1. It’s not because of their product or service
  2. It isn’t their message or pitch magic
  3. It wasn’t fancy marketing collateral
  4. It’s not geographically confined
  5. It isn’t based on tenure or experience
  6. It wasn’t because of their education or advanced degree
  7. It wasn’t because of their physical appearance or silky smooth communication skills
  8. It’s not a game of persistence or sales bullying

The single common denominator of all the one percenters was their belief and philosophy on to how they approached every prospect. Whether they knew it or not, they sold based on the principle of receptivity.


The Principle of Receptivity

When people are emotionally closed, you cannot persuade them with facts or logical arguments.

Every one percenter discovered one thing. If someone is emotionally closed to being sold, pitched, or prodded, no amount of logic, features, and benefits in the world will matter.

Think of it this way. What does it mean if you leave 100 voicemails with highly qualified prospects, but 95 of them never return your call?

We could give you a hundred reasons why the prospects might not call you back, but the root cause to every one of them is the same. They were simply closed to another sales call.

Some would tell you “Don’t take it personally. Sales is just a numbers game.” Try out these numbers. The close rate with unreceptive decision makers is zero. Period. Let that marinate for a minute.

Given those odds, why do so many sales people continue to invest time, money, and effort in search of the holy grail of sales pitches or hopes for immaculate products? They simply don’t know the secret of the one percenters. The secret is discovering the art of influencing receptivity.

The one percenters realize it is personal for their prospects, and today’s decision makers protects their time like they protect their families. One percenters have a core competency of increasing receptivity. They know it’s the ante to the sales process.

Spread the word and let us know if you are interested in learning more about how to influence receptivity and join the ranks of the one percenters.


What Next?

If you like what you’ve read here, please take a look at these related posts:

Selling – They All Must Be Crazy Out There

The Customer Is Not Always Right

And if you’d like notification when new articles are posted, please subscribe to our blog via the form to the right or follow us on social media via the links above.

And if you found this blog helpful and want to learn more about ASLAN and our philosophy, please check out our new book, UnReceptive, at

As President of ASLAN, Marc is responsible for all day-to-day operations including our sales and marketing efforts and growing our success in helping our clients be Other-Centered®.

Leave a Comment


The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.