Sales is a challenging industry that takes a unique combination of traits and skills to succeed in. When we examine the truly memorable salespeople we know, a few things become immediately apparent—most notably, that there are certain features all successful salespeople share.
Logic would dictate, then, that we should pattern ourselves after those salespeople if we are to achieve the same measure of success. To help, we consulted eight associates of Young Entrepreneur Council about the elements they would include on a checklist for those looking to become spectacular salespeople, and what it would take to check those boxes off. These are the traits they highlighted.
Empathy is a critical trait for a salesperson. You must be able to relate to a potential customer and their situation before you can expect them to trust you and your solution. You must address every concern with a personal and open-minded approach and not just a canned response that you are taught to read from a script. This approach helps relieve the initial tension that exists in a typical sales call and build a good rapport before going in for the close. A sales conversation, just like any other conversation, is a two-way street, and you must be able to hear your customer as much as you want to be heard. Empathy is an important tool in a salesperson's toolbox and can go a long way in building the kinds of relationships you need to close more deals. – Jacob Tanur, Click Play Films
2. Likeability And Trustworthiness
A good salesperson has to be likable and trustworthy. We all have choices when it comes to the products and services we purchase. When evaluating those competing brands, people will gravitate toward the one that feels most comfortable. Being a genuinely likeable and trustworthy person will create that feeling of comfort that prospects want prior to spending their money. Good salespeople will have that ability as a product of their character, but great salespeople will work to hone that skill through constant follow-up and organization. – Josh Awad, Flywheel Commerce
One of the best traits that any salesperson can have is patience. Focusing on a fast sale now isn't going to build a long-term relationship with customers and clients later. Putting in the time to connect and answer questions (even if it's over a few different face-to-face meetings) generally produces better results than trying to snag a one-time sale. Be willing to put in the work and maintain contact with your prospective and existing customers. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
All good salespeople have charisma. It's hard to sell a product unless you can get someone excited about what you're offering. Some people say charisma can't be learned, and I partially agree. There are things you can do to make yourself naturally more charismatic. I think that if you want to check off that box, you have to build your confidence. Believe in the product you're selling and yourself. When someone has confidence, they start to feel comfortable selling their product or service to someone. They know what to expect and how to explain the benefits. Consequently, they come off as naturally charismatic. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
5. An Understanding Of Marketing
Great salespeople need to have a deep understanding of marketing. Understanding content strategy and how it aligns with buyer personas and intent will help sales people share the most relevant content. Understanding HubSpot or a marketing automation platform will help salespeople use buyer signals like site visits, content engagement and ad engagement to call or email at the perfect time. Understanding account-based marketing reporting to focus on the high-potential accounts will help salespeople spend time on the right prospects. Timing is everything—and the smartest salespeople use data to ensure they're spending their time targeting the high-value prospects at the right time, and not just chasing the hamster wheel to fulfill an outbound call or email quota. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)
6. Clear And Concise Writing Skills
Clear and concise writing skills are a must. Some salespeople are powerful face to face, but fail miserably when written communication occurs, such as through email. And considering email is typically where the initial touch point of a prospective client or customer occurs, sloppy writing can immediately discourage further conversation, or create doubt in a prospective buyer's mind. All businesses should invest in a small writing course for each of their salespeople (and entire staff, I'd argue), and the use of Grammarly should be a must—it helps point out sloppy writing. – Ron Lieback, ContentMender
7. Polite Persistence
Great salespeople are politely persistent. They don’t take “no” for an answer, they know how to pivot to adjacent pathways that keep the conversations going and they’re quick thinkers. They have the discipline to follow up with every lead and customer to figure out precisely what’s needed to turn a “maybe” or “no” into a “yes.” To improve these areas, salespeople need to learn how to ask open-ended questions and how to react to the answers they receive. Journalism courses may be useful for this as journalists do this all the time. Further, asking solution-oriented questions can help uncover insights from your prospects and customers. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
8. The Ability To Handle Rejection
Sales is one of the hardest jobs there is because it requires so much emotional and mental strength. You need to be able to approach virtual strangers and sell to them—and rejection is a common experience. You need to be able to accept rejection and even ask for feedback or reach out again to the person who rejected you. It can feel personal too because you're putting in a great deal of effort into the interaction. So, the ability to not take rejection personally and to be able to continue working while under stress are definitely top characteristics a salesperson needs. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner