How to Spot Them: 6 Personality Traits Of Good Vs. Bad Salespeople

Not all salespeople are created equally. Some exceed targets while maximising cross-sells, up-sells and repeat business while others struggle to hit their quota. The difference often comes down to specific personality traits that differentiate a good from a bad salesperson. In this comprehensive article, we cover the essential personality traits that differentiate a good salesperson from a bad salesperson as well as the qualities of an exceptional salesperson. So let’s jump right in.

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What makes a good salesperson?

A good salesperson typically has a combination of specific personality traits that set them up with success while paired with skills that can be trained over time.

The traits that can’t be trained include attitude, drive and a natural type of sales personality. The skills that can be trained include sales skills and product knowledge.

Don’t be fooled though, not all great salespeople are loud, outgoing and aggressive. Depending on the product or service or the type of people they’re dealing with, someone who’s thoughtful, curious and relaxed could outperform their alpha counterparts. A good salesperson can also adjust their communication style depending on who they’re dealing with.

Dealing with different personality types in sales

Your job as a sales professional is to help your prospect feel as comfortable as possible by communicating with them in a manner unique to their personality. Here at SOCO/, we call it style flexing. 

It’s known that people like, people like them. They’re comfortable with people who are like themselves. However, please make no mistake; this isn’t simply a case of mirroring their gestures, parroting, or paraphrasing. Instead, you want to adopt characteristics unique to their communication style.

If you want to sell successfully to all four communication styles – Supportive, Open, Closed, and Organized – you need to style Flex. Then, adapt your style to suit that of your customer. That will help you to build rapport and trust, establish credibility, and close those crucial deals. Coincidentally, this is one of the personality traits of a good salesperson.

What’s the difference between a good and bad salesperson?

It may seem like the obvious answer is that, frankly, bad salespeople can’t sell. However, it’s a lot more complex than just not having the skills to sell, but rather the personality traits and attributes needed in sales.

The ultimate difference between a good salesperson and a bad salesperson is their actions. For instance, a bad salesperson tends to push their agenda onto the prospect rather than understanding their needs and wants to help them solve their problems successfully.

A good salesperson on the other hand would ask questions to understand the prospect’s needs before trying to sell anything.

Infographic listing the differences between Good vs Bad Salesperson

6 Personality Traits of a Good Salesperson

Now that you understand the difference between good salespeople and bad salespeople, we can delve into the personality traits that create them. Below, we explore the seven personality traits of a good salesperson. How many can you identify in yourself?

1. Good Listener

If you want your potential customer to pay attention to what you say, you have to be willing to listen to him first. That doesn’t mean just giving your prospect time to speak, but actively listening to what they have to say. 

Good salespeople understand that dialling back their presence and allowing the prospect to speak allows them a unique insight into their problem – giving them a better chance at pitching their solution and ultimately making that deal. Not only that, but it helps to build initial rapport and proves to the customer that you value what they have to say. 

2. Asks Questions

When you ask questions, you not only show you are interested in someone else’s needs, but you discover ways you can customize your sales pitch to show how your product or service can meet those needs.

3. Confident

Be confident not only in yourself but in the solution you are selling. Showing confidence in what you are selling positively influences the potential customer’s perception.

4. Friendly

As the saying goes: you can catch more clients with honey than vinegar. No one wants to do business with a person they don’t like. While you need to keep it professional, you still have the freedom to connect with others on a human level. 

5. Follows Up

Selling doesn’t end when the meeting is over. Few potential customers are ready to buy after one discussion, and that means you need to follow up. Make sure you ask your prospects for multiple ways to connect with them and reach out!

6. Relentless

There is no doubt about it; working in sales leads to multiple rejections. A good salesperson knows how to avoid becoming discouraged when they hear the word, “No,” over and over again. Instead, they find other ways to get the results they want. 

6 Personality Traits of a Bad Salesperson

Underperforming salespeople often do poorly because of their bad habits. The good news is that by evaluating yourself honestly and trying to correct behaviours, you can join the ranks of high performing sales professionals. 

1. Talks Over the Customer 

No one likes to be interrupted or feel like someone isn’t listening. Give your customer time to express needs and wants. If you listen carefully, they will tell you the key to closing the deal. 

2. Assumes Everything

Sure, do your homework and research your prospect before meeting with them, but no matter how much you know, you don’t know enough. Never assume anything. A better approach is to ask questions and listen to what your prospect has to say. 

3. Timid

Be fearless when it comes to meeting new prospects and believe that you are offering the best solution for the person’s problem. People don’t trust others who are too shy or those unwilling to speak highly of themselves and their company.

4. Rude

Never confuse being confident and assertive with being disrespectful. Respect everyone you speak with: from the person who answers the phone and up. You never know who might become an advocate for the solution you are selling.

5. Waits For Customer

Many customers are hesitant to commit to making a purchase, especially a costly one. So never wait around for a prospect to call you, call them. This way you might find out what’s holding them back and you’ll be able to help them get past their concerns.

6. Gives Up Easily

Don’t give up. Sales is a numbers game. Get out there, and sell with passion, even if you feel dejected. You never know who will say, ”Yes.”

What’s the difference between the personality traits of a good salesperson, and a great salesperson?

One of the most overlooked attributes needed in sales is consistency. Coincidentally, this is exactly what separates the personality traits of a good salesperson from a great salesperson. Therefore, there’s good news, you too can develop yourself, and with a bit of time and effort, these good traits of a salesperson can help you turn around your sales record completely. In fact, take a look at SOCO Academy, a unique sales e-learning platform that allows you to fine-tune your sales skills.

10 Qualities of a Great Salesperson

A great salesperson has mastered how to be intuitive and consistent at the same time. Find out the characteristics of a great salesperson below:

Infographic listing the 10 Qualities of a Great Sales Professional

1. Mindset

Alongside consistency and intuition, great salespeople possess a strong mindset that can take rejection after rejection. Instead of getting discouraged, the great salesperson uses this as motivational fuel to get the next prospect to say yes. More so, I think people feel like sales are trying to convince someone to do something that they believe that person doesn’t want to do, which isn’t right at all.

Rather, it’s all about your perception of sales.

When I walk into a room, I always feel like I have something tremendous to give you. I can help your sales professionals reach their goals. So, it’s two things—first, your perception and your belief in what you are conveying. So, therefore, I believe in what I do. Second, I think what I do makes a difference and helps people and that it matters. So, I project that sales mindset.

2. Good Listener

Great salespeople listen to the customers’ needs and use them to propose a solution that works the best for them. Above all, they understand that sales professionals should be listening 80% of the time and only talking 20% of the time. Of that 20%, half of that should be asking questions. That leaves only 10% for selling and telling.

3. Prepared

Comes to meetings prepared with sales materials, answers to anticipated objections and background information on the client.

4. Confident

A level of arrogance allows a salesperson to assume they’ll make a sale before ever meeting with a prospect.

5. Self-Motivated

Has their own goals in mind and does whatever it takes to meet or exceed them. This is also known as drive or grit.

6. Product Knowledge

A great salesperson knows everything about their product or service and how it compares to the competition. More so, they know that people don’t buy features; they buy benefits. Features answer the question, “What is it?” and benefits answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”.

7. Friendly

Great salespeople can easily build rapport with all types of people, whether on the phone or in person. Building rapport with customers is one of the most important steps in the sales process. A strong relationship with a customer creates mutual trust and a lasting relationship that can lead to repeat business. As the saying goes, ‘People do business with people they know, like and trust’.

8. Follows Up

Doesn’t wait for a prospect to get back to them, instead, checks in to see what else they can do to help the customer move forward.

9. Organised

Keeps track of all working opportunities, past clients and lost sales in a CRM so they know when to follow up.

10. Quick On Feet

Can adjust their pitch based on the current situation and doesn’t get caught off guard by questions.

Final word: What’s the best type of sales personality?

With the sales industry being faster than ever before, to keep up and achieve the best results possible, you’ve got to be able to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. As with all industries, there are often various types of salespeople, often with varying sales skills, knowledge and intent. Discover 10 sales personality types below to find what type of salesperson you are (or want to be.)

Infographic listing the 10 sales personality types to help you discover the type of sales personality you have

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