The 10 Traits of A Great Salesperson

traits of a great salesperson

The Character-Driven Path to Sales Success 

The traits that define a great salesperson can significantly impact their success and the perception of their profession. The debate on what fuels real success often divides professionals into two camps: those pushing aggressively for the close and prioritizing the customer’s needs.

This discussion brings to light the essential foundation of sales success: character. Beyond the basic skills of negotiation and persuasion, character plays a pivotal role in shaping a salesperson’s approach and effectiveness. John Hays Hammond‘s assertion that “Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success” rings particularly true in sales, where the nature of interactions and transactions can define one’s career. 

Two Philosophies of Sales 

Sales professionals typically align with one of two prevailing philosophies. The first is the aggressive “Coffee is for Closers” mentality, emphasizing ego and power as the primary tools for achieving success. In contrast, the second philosophy advocates for a more empathetic approach, where understanding and meeting the customer’s needs are paramount. This dichotomy highlights a critical choice for sales professionals: pursue a path defined by self-interest or embrace a customer-centric approach grounded in humility and service. 

In my journey as a sales trainer and practitioner, I’ve encountered a wide range of tactics employed by salespeople. I’ve even heard of salespeople following their customers out to the parking lot and keep closing until they drove away or purchased. Although I believe you should ALWAYS ask for the sale. Techniques like this are exactly why many buyers believe that salespeople are pushy, slimy and manipulative. I happen to believe that great salespeople do more than simply ask for the sale. 

10 Traits of Great Salespeople 

Great salespeople stand out not just for their ability to close deals but for their character and approach to their profession. Here are ten traits of a great salesperson that define the best in the field: 

  1. Humility

Humility draws people in and builds trust, essential for forming lasting customer relationships. Recognizing that you’re part of a larger ecosystem where your customers’ needs and experiences are central can transform the way you sell, making you not just a salesperson but a trusted advisor. 

  1. Coachability

The willingness to learn and adapt is what keeps a salesperson relevant and successful. Acknowledging that there is always room for improvement, regardless of past successes, fosters a growth mindset that is infectious and inspiring to others. 

  1. Hunger for Success

A persistent drive to achieve and grow prevents stagnation. This hunger motivates salespeople to explore new territories, innovate in their approaches, and relentlessly pursue excellence, ensuring that they never lose momentum. 

  1. Curiosity

Curiosity about customers’ lives and needs makes every sales interaction unique and engaging. This trait fuels a deeper understanding of the customer, paving the way for tailored solutions that resonate on a personal level. 

  1. Empathy

Empathy bridges the gap between selling a product and solving a problem. By genuinely caring about the customer, salespeople can forge connections that transcend the transactional, creating loyalty and repeat business. 

  1. Effective Communication

Clear communication is the backbone of any successful relationship. It’s not just about conveying information but about listening, understanding, and responding in ways that build trust and clarity. 

  1. Responsibility

Taking responsibility for one’s actions and outcomes empowers salespeople to control their success. By owning up to mistakes and learning from them, they can navigate challenges more effectively and build stronger professional foundations. 

  1. Passion

Passion is contagious and can significantly influence those around you. When a salesperson is passionate about their product, service, and impact, it elevates their sales pitch from a mere transaction to an engaging story. 

  1. Proper Prioritization

Knowing how to balance work with personal life is crucial for long-term success and fulfillment. Great salespeople recognize the importance of maintaining their well-being and relationships outside of work, which in turn enhances their performance and satisfaction with their career. 

  1. Gratefulness

Gratefulness grounds salespeople, reminding them of the value and opportunity in their role. This perspective fosters a positive attitude and resilience, key components for navigating the ups and downs of a sales career. 

The Essence of a Successful Salesperson. 

These traits together form a blueprint for not only achieving success in sales but doing so with integrity and a genuine commitment to the customer. As the sales landscape continues to evolve, these timeless qualities remain the bedrock of a fulfilling and prosperous career in sales. By embodying these traits, sales professionals can not only meet their targets. But also contribute positively to the reputation and ethical standards of the sales industry. 

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About the Author: Ryan Taft

As the former National Sales Training Manager for a Top 5 homebuilder and a licensed Realtor® in Arizona, Ryan Taft is consumed with a passion for helping others achieve breakthrough results in sales, business and life.