6 Traits of a Successful Salesperson

I recently shared about how salesmanship is a life-skill that we all use and are all affected by, whether we realize it in the moment or not. Today, I want to share common traits of a good salesperson.

First, let me ask you, what do you think of when you think when someone tells you they are in sales? Unfortunately, I believe many thinks of the stereotype of a person who just tries to get the next sale at any cost and who doesn’t care about the customer.

I’m here to tell you that’s completely wrong! In fact, the traits of a successful salesman are entirely customer focused and not necessarily on their own bottom line. In fact, they are wise enough to realize that putting their customer first is the key to their own success.

Let’s talk about some of the common traits for an effective salesperson. First of all, realize that everything we’re going to talk about is framed by my “5 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Understanding these traits will help you succeed!

Be Smart
A professional salesperson must be smart about not only their customer, but about their product. Buyers are empowered by the internet now and can simple google information. A salesman must have the most accurate and helpful knowledge about their product.

Be Willing to Invest Time
I talk to hundreds of people wanting to be successful at sales and a common theme I hear is fear of rejection. The great salespeople learn to accept rejection and turn it into a way to learn their customer. By taking the time to learn their customer and that person’s specific needs, wants and concerns, the salesperson is putting their customer first and will in turn be more likely to make that sale.

Be a Continuous Learner
Sales techniques and human behavior is in constant change. I’ve seen people who were great salesmen decades ago, but they failed to keep up with the latest ideas about how to influence people and technology so now they are no longer effective. Think of it this way, would you want to have a doctor who never learned new surgical techniques or about the latest medicine? Of course not. So why would people want to buy from a salesman who doesn’t understand their modern needs?

Be a Problem-Solver
Customers don’t come to you to buy something. They come to you to solve their problem. The only way you’re going to understand what that problem entails is if you listen! I tell folks that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We need to listen more and talk less. I see salesmen who talk so much that they talk themselves out of a sale. Don’t let this happen to you! Learn to communicate and solve problems. Remember: it’s always about the customer and how you solve their problem, not about the product.

Be Savvy About Your Product
This one goes hand-in-hand with the trait above. Part of being able to solve your customer’s problem is truly being savvy about your product. This is different than knowledge when approaching a buyer. This is knowing which buyer markets to target. For example, I once knew a salesman who tried to get frozen seafood in Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs throughout Florida—you know, the state that is surrounded by the ocean! Needless to say, this was not a successful venture.

Products must be priced to be successful and be marketed in areas where that product is needed.

Be More Than a One-Trick Pony
If all you have is one product to sell, you will find that you will struggle to develop a relationship with many buyers. Always have another plan in place if they reject your initial proposal. Even if it’s just asking their input on a product you’re developing for sale, you can be more successful if your funnel is always full. Buyers will remember you positively and will be more likely to buy from you in the future if you have more than one idea to discuss.

These are my six traits of a great salesperson. What ideas do you have to add? I’d love to talk with you more about this topic and can share more ideas with your sales team.


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