Last Updated on February 16, 2021
Sales professionals are a varied bunch, represented by all kinds of backgrounds, personality types, demographics and experiences.
However, it’s also true that there are some distinct characteristics that are frequently shared by successful salespeople. Some are innate. Others are learned over time or instilled through experience and mentoring.
While none of them, either by themselves or in tandem, can guarantee success, they are undoubtedly worthy of review.
If you’re hiring, you should look for them. If you’re training you should aim to instill them. And if you’re a salesperson yourself, you should strive for, or embrace them.
Here are seven traits and characteristics of top-selling salespeople:
Sales Trait #1: Curiosity
There are a number of reasons curiosity is such a valuable sales trait.
For one, top salespeople strive to tailor their solutions to each prospect’s unique needs. Being inquisitive and curious contributes to an effective discovery process, makes for more interesting sales conversations, and lends itself to a desire to serve.
Additionally, curious people want to know how and why something works. Not surprisingly, curious sales people tend to know their product well, which goes a long way in providing leads with knowledge and information.
It can also contribute to a wider knowledge of industry trends and the competitive landscape.
Sales Trait #2: Ambition
Whether you refer to it as drive, gumption, “self-starting” or something else, good old-fashioned ambition is at the heart of success in almost any field.
But it’s truly at the heart of sales.
Someone who is ambitious goes the extra mile to ensure they reach their goals, and keep moving the goal posts further afield.
But ambition must be matched with or tempered by…
Sales Trait #3: Integrity
There is such a thing as “blind ambition.” Integrity is perhaps its biggest antidote.
It’s not enough to continually strive for big sales goals. We also have to focus on the path we’re taking to get there. A salesperson who uses pressure, dishonesty, questionable tactics, or misleading claims will eventually crash and burn.
Honesty and integrity creates the kind of success that lasts, and builds upon itself.
Sales Trait #4: Persistence
Data shows that 80% of sales close after at least 5 follow-ups, yet 66% of sales reps give up after only one or two.
Kind of says it all, really. Closing deals takes time and requires persistence.
Salespeople who willingly and systematically (here’s a sales cadence example including 5+ touches over 7-days) stay on top of their pipeline consistently overachieve.
Sales Trait #5: Humility
When you see a sales professional hit great numbers and start to walk around like they own the place, look out!
This is the kind of person who will usually burn out bright because he or she lacks humility. Being humble in sales means the ability to simultaneously recognize weaknesses and not take strengths for granted. Both are essential to growing individually and as part of a successful team.
Sales Trait #6: Organization
Successful salespeople have a lot of contacts. Their prospects fall into different stages of the sales cycle with constant movement from one stage to another.
If you can’t stay organized, leads will undoubtedly fall through the cracks.
A good sales CRM can help a lot. But being (or becoming!) organized as a matter of character pays serious dividends as well.
Organization is also a key element of sales success because it translates to focus and planning. Someone who is disorganized in sales will often have a hard managing their time, addressing customer demands, meeting deadlines, and forming deep, lasting relationships that drive long-term success.
Sales Trait #7: Empathy
Along with asking the right questions and listening to needs, successful salespeople tend to empathize with their prospects. Empathy builds trust and forges stronger, more meaningful relationships.
The ability to understand a prospects’ pain points also goes a long way in creating credible solutions that result in sales.
Wrapping Up Sales Traits: 7 Characteristics of Top-Selling Salespeople
Successful salespeople can have very different backgrounds, styles, and personality types. But that’s not to say that certain traits don’t lend themselves to success. Because they very much do. These 7 characteristics are a true asset in the sales profession and are well worth looking for or striving toward.