10 Aspects of Executive Presence

Hi readers,

Over the last 18 years that I have essayed various roles in Sales and Marketing in B2B and B2C businesses, I have realized that soft skills and executive presence do make that comparative difference between a good performer and an excellent performer.

I have always maintained with my team that developing and acquiring ( improving) your soft skills, and creating executive presence was just as important as having selling skills.

Some of my ideas on what constitutes executive presence are shared here-

  1. Genuine. Open, straightforward, comfortable in your skin; no BS or sugarcoating.
  2. Passion. You love and feel strongly about what you do and how you do it.
  3. Clarity. Communicate thoughts, feelings, and insights in crystal clarity and simplicity.
  4. Intelligence. No way around this one, and yes, it shows through.
  5. Insight. Ability to boil complex factors and mounds of data down to rare conclusions.
  6. Determination. Driven and full of purpose, determined to achieve and succeed.
  7. Confidence. Not overconfident, but with enough self-doubt to be objective.
  8. Humility. Willing to admit mistakes, misjudgment, fear, and uncertainty is endearing.
  9. Courage. Willingness to take risks and take a position against considerable odds.
  10. Humor. Not over-the-top, but in the right measure, brings down other’s defenses.

3 Qualities a Sales Rep MUST Have


With 18 years of sales management experience under my belt, from India to Africa, across Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Cameroon etc, I was often asked by young members of my sales team…” what are the 3 top qualities of a sales rep”…and the following I believe are universally relevant, even today. (I dont profess to know the future, and going by the way business eco-systems are evolving , I dare say that this list will undergo a change in some months and I will be happy to see additions or changes to this list!)

  • Empathy: You need to understand customer emotional and financial needs, both as people and as professionals. ( Develop to “see” the business from the other side of the table)


  • Persuasiveness: You need to be able to bring prospects to the realization that buying is in their best interests. (This often calls for developing your technical/analytical skills)


  • Resilience: Being in sales means that you’ll sometimes face rejection, so you need to be able to shrug off such experiences and move on. (Learn from your mistakes and consciously endeavor to not repeat them , and hunt for other leads)