What makes a good salesperson?

The success of many businesses lies with the talent and intuition of salespeople. We’ve all had experiences with great salespeople, and poor salespeople, that stick out in our memory, and probably influenced our choice to buy a product or service.  

So what are the traits of a truly excellent salesperson? Not just someone who can close a transaction, but someone who will make your customers’ overall experience positive and memorable. In this issue of The Pulse, we examine those key characteristics your business should pay attention to when hiring or training salespeople.  

It’s a mix of qualities, habits, and skills.  

There are many components that make a great salesperson. From inherent qualities, like charm, to good habits and skills developed over time, it takes the right combination to achieve excellence.  

Habits and skills you can help train and develop in your employees; therefore, the underlying qualities are going to be really important to look for when hiring.  

What are those qualities? 

The best salespeople have the following qualities: 

  • Empathy – they’re able to genuinely understand their customers’ needs and feelings.  
  • Honesty – you don’t want a snake oil salesman representing your business; honest salespeople are the best direction for your team.  
  • Hunger – a drive to sell that goes beyond making money. 
  • Competitiveness – they’re constantly striving to not only be the best at what they do, but improve on their own performance.  
  • Confidence – this is self-explanatory, but is also a quality that can be built and boosted in employees with the right management.  
  • Enthusiasm – a good salesperson is motivated and ready when they’re working, always looking for possibilities.  
  • Resilience – the ability to bounce back after a dry spell or particularly bad outcome. Resilient salespeople find creative ways to turn things around, rather than giving up or becoming defeated.  
  • Multitasking capabilities – salespeople can juggle multiple opportunities at once, closing existing deals while following new leads, and responding to queries.  
  • Charisma and charm – the ability to create a great first impression and maintain relationships is a big asset in sales.  

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but top sellers and earners certainly possess these qualities and more. 

What skills can be learned and developed? 

Whether you’re hiring a salesperson and looking for a certain set of existing skills, or looking to develop key skills in your existing team, here are a great set to pay attention to: 

  • Listening skills – active, engaged listening is necessary to discovering a customer’s needs and satisfying them. 
  • Strong communication – communication and persuasion, both verbal and written, are imperative in sales. The importance of continuing development in this area cannot be understated.  
  • Networking – especially in the digital era, networking allows for building and maintaining strong relationships, creating leads, and closing deals.  
  • Understanding value – a good salesperson knows selling is more than just a price point, it’s about using value propositions to their full advantage.  

Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list. But if you’re looking to boost your sales team’s abilities, this is a great place to start.  

Strong salespeople practice strong habits.  

Habit and routine are often at the route of workplace success. This is just as true in sales as in any other kind of work.  

Some of the habits that are particularly successful in sales include: 

  • Developing a measurable, repeatable sales process designed to move as many prospects from connection to closing.  
  • Adopt an always learning attitude and continue to update product/service knowledge.  
  • Scheduling consistent follow ups. 
  • Creating a personalized message and approach.  
  • Shadowing your peers and learning from top earners.  
  • Asking for referrals.  

In conclusion… 

The quality of your sales team can make or break your business. Fortunately, the best salespeople have qualities, skills, and habits in common that you can identify.