The 15 Characteristics of People Who Succeed at Sales

Sales is the original equal opportunity job. Anyone who is gregarious, diligent and resourceful can succeed.

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If you’ve ever been involved with sales, then you know that it’s not for the faint of heart.

Whether it’s selling a pair of sneakers at a store, a new heating system to homeowners or pitching a startup to investors, making that sale depends on the knowledge and enthusiasm of the salesperson. There is a saying that salesmen are born, not taught. But that's not exactly the case.

Of course, some have a natural talent, but you can certainly develop the characteristics needed to be an an effective and successful salesperson.

Be conscientious

Be conscientious
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This trait is found in people who take great pride in their work, are organized and efficient. But, if you are not organized and efficient, you can learn to be. Conscientious also means you keep going in your job, no matter what.

 

Be respectful

Be respectful
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A successful sales representative understands how valuable their customer's time is. Get to the point of your pitch right from start. People want the bottom line, and they are busy with work and personal obligations, so respect their schedule and time above all.

Related: The 5 Characteristics of Extraordinary Salespeople

 

Take initiative

Take initiative
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Sales reps don’t wait for orders. They’re go-getters and take matters into their own hands. Being disciplined like this helps salesmen to stay on track. If something has to be sold, there is a way to do it. The salesperson will do what it takes to sell the product. Learn to like the product better, compliment when appropriate, learn how to mirror behavior to connect, and then actually care about the connection.

 

Be an active listener

Be an active listener
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Listening to your clients and customers is key. Understand wgat they want and need, why they need it, and how to make that happen. If you don't know exactly how to make the request a reality, think creatively and work together to find a way.

Be persistent

Be persistent
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You have to have thick-skin to be a salesperson because you’re going to become very familiar with the word “no.” You have to be confident and persistent if you want to remain involved with sales. But in lieu of the hard sell, lead with kindness and consideration. Persistence doesn't mean grinding people down -- it means that you look for innovative solutions in the face of difficulty.

Be coachable

Be coachable
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According to Hubspot advisor and former Chief Revenue Officer for the company's sale's division Mark Roberge, experience isn’t nearly as important as coachability for predicting who will be a successful sales representative.

Being energetic, willing to learn and having the ability to adapt -- and be an early adopter -- are all a part of being coachable. If you are asked to do things in a certain way, do it that way, even if it's something that you have approached differently in the past.

 

Be positive

Be positive
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Who would you rather make a purchase from? The upbeat go-getter or the depressed downer? Having a positive attitude makes it easier to approach customers and keep their attention until after you’ve made the sale. Positivity can be contagious. And if you are going through a tough moment, do your best to work through it so it doesn't negatively affect you and your work. Talk to someone, either a friend or a professional, get some exercise, try out some meditation and deep breathing. Keep your end goal in mind.

Related: How Your Attitude Can Win You Sales

Be resourceful

Be resourceful
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The true salesmen is able to shift gears if a sale isn’t going the way that they envisioned. Instead of just taking “no” as an answer, they will attempt a different approach by using their creativity and imagination. Learn to read faces. If your approach has not worked within two minutes, change. Have your twists and turns ready. Don't be afraid to practice your pitch in the mirror at home. It might seem silly at first, but it will feel more natural as time goes on.

 

Be passionate

Be passionate
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A top-notch salesperson actually enjoys their job. If you hate it, change or get out. Most importantly, the salesman will be passionate about the products or services that they’re selling. If they’re on board with a brand message, they can excitedly share that vision with prospective clients and customers. 

 

Ask questions

Ask questions
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Successful salespeople don't just ask questions that focus solely on data. They want to know what the implications are. The most important questions are often not about the product. The client bought what you were selling your first time around. Don't drone on. This client has something to say. Developing that rapport will help you help them and be better at your job. 

 

Be independent

Be independent
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Since most salespeople work on a commission, they have to be driven. Your boss shouldn't have to be there to make sure the work gets done. The most effective salesperson is a self-motivator, building themselves up to do more.

Related: 7 Must-Know Tips for Managing Your Millennial Sales Team

 

Manage your time well

Manage your time well
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Here’s a simple equation: more selling time increases sales and compensation. The best salespeople manage their time effectively, such as finding the best routes from location to location, so that they have more opportunities and time to spend securing a sale. If one place or person takes too long, or longer than expected, you can make up for it somewhere else.

  

Be an overachiever

Be an overachiever
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 You have to go above and beyond. True salespeople don’t know when to stop and typically are pushing for more. More people, more clients, more work, more money. But make sure that you are always prioritzing quality.

 

Be personable

Be personable
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A great salesperson has no problem getting along with others. And, most importantly, they enjoy meeting new people and realize the power of networking. It’s not surprising to see salespeople involved with so many local events and organizations. Most salespeople love and are energized by being around people, and it shows. 

 

Be prepared

Be prepared
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Salespeople are always prepared. They have to be ready for any situation that they’re thrown into and know how to successfully finesse the moment. 

Related: Build a Stellar Sales Team

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