15 Essential Traits of Highly Successful Salespeople

The most successful salespeople think and act differently than your average sales rep. What are the qualities of a good sales person? In this article, we list all the traits so you can learn how to be good at sales.

What sets them apart?

They’ve discovered the traits that guarantee selling success, and work incessantly to cultivate those traits in themselves.

We’re going to share with you their secret sauce.

We’re going to tell you the top 10 traits of successful salespeople — and how you can use them to upgrade from a good salesperson to a great one.

The Top 15 Traits and Qualities of a Good Sales Person

There’s nothing special or magical about the traits of top salespeople. They’re simple traits — some may even seem obvious — but simple doesn’t mean everyone has them.

We’re going to fix that.

The first step is identifying the problem.

So, let’s look at what traits you need to launch your sales career, and turn you into a sales wizard.

Here they are:

  1. Upbeat
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Empathetic
  5. Accountable
  6. Well Prepared
  7. Tech-Savvy
  8. Highly Engaged
  9. Goal Oriented
  10. Relationship Driven
  11. Hungry to Succeed
  12. Competitive
  13. Multitasking
  14. Curious
  15. Good Listener

Now let’s dig in.

Success Trait #1: Upbeat

You’re going to hear a lot of “no” in sales. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this.

Hearing negative responses on a regular basis can be extremely disheartening. But for successful people, “no” doesn’t mean the end.

“No” doesn’t always mean no forever, it just means not right now.

Successful salespeople face setbacks with a positive attitude, they learn from them, and always look for an opportunity.

They come out of the most difficult of situations stronger than before.

Success Trait #2: Passionate

Being passionate about your job means more than working to meet a quota.

Salespeople who are truly passionate work towards achieving bigger goals, such as personal excellence and building long-lasting relationships.

Being passionate about the right things will have long-term benefits that will continuously pay back during your entire career.

Top salespeople are passionate about growing their careers, and making sure they always bring their A-game.

However,  they are primarily focused on impacting people’s lives, and they work towards that goal every day.

Success Trait #3: Creative

Creativity is important in sales.

You may not think so, because creativity is often associated with writers and artists, but it’s true.

The top performers in sales look at things differently.

Their creative thinking and analytical skills enable them to offer solutions that others just don’t see.

They are resourceful, making the best out of whatever they have.

If you want to be the best, you need to be a creative problem solver who can come up with new and novel ways to help your customers — and by extension, your company as well.

Success Trait #4: Empathetic

Empathy and compassion are prerequisites to excellent customer service.

Empathetic salespeople listen intently to what affects people, and then provide them to express their thoughts and concerns.

The best salespeople will put themselves in other people’s shoes — with no judgment or ulterior motives — to truly understand the other person. This tells them how best to help their clients.

You should always keep your customer’s success front-of-mind

If you truly care for your prospects, customers, and colleagues, it will show, and you will reap the rewards that trust will bring.

Success Trait #5: Accountable

Accountability is important. Whether you’re taking credit for a success or a failure, you need to take responsibility for your actions.

The best salespeople take complete ownership over their work, and they do it with dignity and respect.

Highly effective salespeople know how to take full responsibility for their actions and do not blame other people or external influences that can affect results.

If something goes wrong, they take it upon themselves to find out why and fix it.

If something goes great, they find out why and cultivate it.

Successful salespeople don’t pass the buck.

Success Trait #6: Well-Prepared

Impressing clients and persuading them to spend money is no cakewalk.

Closing a deal requires a tremendous amount of research, confidence, and a flawless execution.

There are a lot of ways to get it wrong, and only one sure fire way to impress — be prepared.

Highly successful salespeople use every resource at their disposal to research and prepare for every call, meeting, and deal.

They know all about their product, every potential objection, and they know exactly what they are going to pitch before they ever walk into the meeting room.

They do NOT go on-and-on about products and services without offering something of value in easy-to-understand, jargon-free, talk.

Every presentation is tailor made and meticulously prepared for. There’s no excuse for getting this one wrong. It simply boils down to doing the work.

Success Trait #7: Tech-Savvy

Technology is an important aspect of Sales, and every year it gets a bigger role.

CRMs, automation tools, AI, and every other innovation, past and future, have changed the way sales is done on a daily basis.

In today’s sales world, if you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re behind.

Winning salespeople stay updated on the latest market trends, products, and technology.

They use any and all kinds of sales tools available to be more efficient and more successful.

The most successful salespeople are ahead of the game for a reason — they invest time in their tools.

Success Trait #8: Highly Engaged

Being engaged is important. You need to be active and present every day at your company.

You need to love being a part of the organization you represent.

Top salespeople love their job and the people they work with. They believe in their product, which means they can sell with complete conviction.

They are active and plugged in to their organization. They participate in assessments, surveys, and training programs.

They take advantage of every resource their company provides.

If you do this, your organization will also invest in you.

When a company recognizes it has a superstar, they won’t risk losing you. So be plugged in.

Success Trait #9: Goal-Oriented

The ability to set (and stick to) personal and professional goals is a common trait of the most successful salespeople.

I think most salespeople are goal-oriented. That’s likely part of the reason you ended up in sales in the first place.

Top sales pros take it to another level.

They don’t just have a vague goal or direction. They know exactly what they want to accomplish (and by when), and they will plan everything around these targets.

The best salespeople also set ambitious goals — ambitious but achievable.

Successful salespeople set long-term goals that help them grow as an individual and as a professional.

Reaching these goals requires patience, planning, and a long-term vision.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?

Success Trait #10: Relationship-Driven

Sales is all about relationships.

The best salespeople know the importance of building trust, and ensuring satisfaction with every deal.

They also know these things can take time, which is why they follow up with prospects and clients regularly over time, not only when they’re trying to close a deal.

The key here is authenticity.

The relationship needs to be authentic, not simply transactional.

There will be wins and losses, but the most successful salespeople never say goodbye to clients.

They continue to help and support those they’ve already sold to, and reach out to people who have said no in the past.

The most effective salespeople know relationships are what drives sales, and they are personally driven by forming these long-term relationships.

Success Trait #11: Hungry to Succeed

One who is hungry for growth doesn’t require motivation and training. He just needs an opportunity…

Hunger is an intense desire or craving for something or, in this case, good sales.

Hunger equals ambition. When you’re ambitious, you’ll exploit each and every selling opportunity you manage to lay your hands on.

Successful salespeople are gauged by the number of sales they are able to score in a day, week, month or year.

All well-performing salespeople are hungry to make more and more sales to raise the bar even higher.

Ambition is a good sale behavior that drives your sales locomotive to a higher sales town.

Also, these folks have an urge to sell that goes beyond money. I believe they have a personal ego that can only be stroked and satisfied with high numbers.

That’s why they continue to push sales regardless of how many noes they get, obstacles they face and competition encountered on the way.

Success Trait #12: Competitive

Salespeople who succeed are competitive.

Being competitive is all about having the desire to be more successful than others. And that’s one of the common drives among well-performing salespeople.

In short, they’re competitive.

And they just don’t want to get better at what they do, but they also want to be the best.

When you’re a thirsty salesman looking to outperform other people in the industry, it goes without saying your numbers will pretty much be impressive.

Don’t get me wrong, competitiveness doesn’t mean being jealous. Instead, it’s all about being willing and ready to work the extra mile to knock out your competition.

Success Trait #13: Multitasking

Most people have a negative view of multitasking. I don’t blame you. Often, multitasking is linked to shoddy work and messing things up.

But, successful salespeople have mastered the art of multitasking. They can juggle between getting more leads and closing on promising leads.

This means that they are constantly juggling between answering emails, making phone calls, and following up on potential clients.

Most successful salespeople are excellent multitaskers. They utilize every minute in working towards closing a sale.

And we all know that time isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing.

Success Trait #14: Curiosity

When reps take the role of a curious student rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more likely to engage.

Another important quality of a good salesperson is curiosity.

Curiosity killed the cat, but in this case, it makes a successful salesman.

Basically, curiosity is the desire to always learn something. Being curious about products and clients is only the start. 

Successful salespeople are also curious about their competition, the latest market trends, what is happening in the industry and their latest clients’ preferences.

This, in turn, pushes them to become the best at what they do.

However, this requires a lot of time, dedication, market and sales processes research. But, success with a little effort is worth it.

Success Trait #15: Good Listener

Good listening involves paying close and keen attention to what your clients need. This is what is called perspective listening.

Perspective listening is by far the most complex skill because it requires you to be totally focused, completely mindful, and, well perceptive of what’s really going on.

Most sales people fail to close a sale because of what I like to call a ‘consumer communication barrier.’ They fail to get into the mind of their leads and understand them inside out.

The only way to get to understand your client and know what they want is by listening to what your prospects are saying.

Good listening skills are also essential, especially when getting sales advice from gurus on how to be a better salesperson.

Successful salespeople know good listening and the role it plays in making good sales.

What Next?

Now you know the traits you need to cultivate. So, what’s your next step?

It’s this: To begin the career-long process of practicing and implementing these success traits in your life and your career.

The goal? To build smart habits that make these 10 traits your natural way of being and doing.

Just one word of caution…

Great selling techniques can’t be acquired in a day, but you can start learning them today.

So get out there and start becoming the best salesperson of tomorrow.

Bhaswati Bhattacharyya is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her ‘me time’ she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less-traveled places on the world map. For more such cutting edge content, follow @TeamCapabiliti.

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