10 Traits of Successful Salespeople

Even in these digitized times, some business processes still require the human touch and people skills. That’s particularly true in sales, the linchpin of every company’s success. Salespeople can reap significant professional and financial rewards if they have the right stuff, experts say.

Some of the most successful salespeople share 10 personality traits, said Peter Leighton, senior vice president of recruiting for Combined Insurance, which fields more than 1,300 commissioned sales representatives throughout the country.

  1. Personable. Being personable is universal among people who do well in sales, Leighton told BusinessNewsDaily.
    “The most successful salespeople know how to get along with and enjoy meeting and talking to a wide variety of people,” he said. “They also tend to be comfortable and confident in social settings.”
  2. Ambitious. Successful salespeople set goals for themselves and focus on achieving those ambitions. They have a drive to succeed in all that they do and thrive on success, Leighton said.
  3. Confident. Sales is not a profession for people with thin skins, because rejection is commonplace, Leighton said. Salespeople hear the word “no” all the time, but successful sellers have the confidence to take “no” as a challenge, not a personal rejection.
  4. Passionate. Successful salespeople have a deep belief in and a dedication to what they do and sell.
  5. Hard working. Successful salespeople have a good work ethic and do what it takes to get the job done. They are also willing to roll up their sleeves and work long hours to reach and surpass their goals.
  6. Independent. Sales is not a field for the insecure or faint of heart, Leighton said. Since many positions are commission-based, often the most successful salespeople are typically self-starters who can take personal initiative by identifying the work steps needed to achieve success.
  7. Disciplined. Procrastination is a non–starter for successful salespeople, said Leighton. They possess tremendous follow-through and are not easily swayed from their tasks or goals. They are good at organizing, planning and prioritizing, and have a “do it now” mentality.
  8. Positive. Successful salespeople see the glass as half full. Their positive attitudes allow them to turn negatives into positives in any sales situation. They learn from defeat to better improve their chances of success.
  9. Persuasive. The best salespeople know what it’s like to be in their prospect’s shoes, Leighton said. No customer likes to be “sold” to. That’s why successful salespeople act more as “consultants” and tailor their approach to meet the different needs of prospective buyers, to better influence a customer’s decision to buy.
  10. Adaptable. Successful salespeople understand that change is sometimes necessary and are able to quickly adapt and do something differently if it doesn’t work, Leighton said. In other words, they’ve learned the art of the pivot.
Ned Smith is the senior writer at BusinessNewsDaily. Previously, he was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics.