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The 5 Traits That Make A Great Salesperson

October 24, 2011

From American Express OPEN Forum

By Mike Michalowicz Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur


Original Post


As every entrepreneur knows, sales are the backbone of business. You can’t survive without them, and if your company relies upon dedicated sales people, it is that much more important to make sure you have the right people in place to do the job.

Over the years, I have met with a wide variety of people who work in sales, and I have noticed some common traitsSales among the ones who are most successful in their field. These traits include:

  • A strong work ethic. Successful sales people will put in the hours and dedication it takes to get the job done. They feel a sense of loyalty, responsibility and duty to their position, and will do what they must to make it happen. Their work ethic is strong, and nothing gets in their way.
  • Being goal oriented. This is an important part of being a successful sales person, because they need to be able to meet goals. Those who can set and meet goals tend to be good at doing what it takes to achieve them. They know how to get there, they know that goals are important, and they appreciate the goal-setting—and achieving—process.
  • They are sociable. Not many introverts end up being top sales people because it takes some great outgoing social skills to be a successful sales person. The top sales people know how to network and talk to their potential buyers, in order to get their attention. They like being around people and socializing with them. They are friendly, as well, which always helps to get their foot in the door.
  • They have confidence. This is not be confused with being arrogant or cocky, which is usually a turn-off to potential buyers. But it is huge for a sales person to have confidence in themselves, in their company and in what they are doing. It takes confidence to make cold calls, pull off a sales presentation, or network with the big players. When your sales people are confident, that tends to put the other person at ease and make them feel more comfortable about the entire process.
  • They are curious. Being curious is an important quality, because it means they will take the time to ask people questions and to get to know them. They are patient, know how to learn more about their prospects, and will ask the right questions to put it all together. Being curious can be an important part of getting someone in the door and making a connection.

Your ability to hire the right sales people to work in your company can make or break you, literally. But if you watch for some of these common personality traits when you are determining who to hire, you will increase your chances of finding someone who will be successful at helping your business grow.

The surprising truth about what makes great sales people is that it has so much to do with their personality, rather than their prior experience or education. You can always train someone and give them the sales experience they need. But you can’t train someone to be confident, goal-oriented, or to have a strong work ethic. Traits like that come from within and are part of who we are.

Keep an eye out for potential sales people who have the traits listed above, and you will have found yourself a valuable employee. And valuable employees are worth their weight in gold. They are out there; you just need to sift through the possibilities and find them before your competitor does!

Image: Danilo Rizzuti /

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