What Makes a Great Salesperson: 6 Personality Traits (Good vs Bad Salespeople)

Salespeople are an essential component of any business, responsible for driving revenue growth and expanding market reach. Yet not all salespeople are made the same. Some exceed targets while maximizing cross-sells, up-sells, and repeat business. In contrast, 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 and explore the qualities of a great salesperson. Let’s jump right in:

What Makes a Good Salesperson?

The stereotypical view of a salesperson is someone pushy, aggressive, and solely focused on closing deals, regardless of whether or not it is in the customer’s best interest.

A good salesperson typically has a combination of specific personality traits paired with specific 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. These skills and traits include:

  • Great active listening skills
  • Ability to ask appropriate thought-provoking and probing questions
  • Confidence
  • Friendly demeanour
  • Follows up with every prospect
  • Relentless in their drive for success

Good salespeople are skilled at identifying and addressing customer needs, communicating value, and building trust and rapport with clients. They are also resilient in the face of rejection, adaptable to changing market conditions, and continuously seek to learn and improve their sales skills.

But don’t be fooled; not all great salespeople are loud, outgoing, and aggressive. While the stereotypical view of a salesperson is someone pushy, aggressive, and solely focused on closing deals, regardless of whether or not it is in the customer’s best interest. Good salespeople strive hard to move away from this image. 

That’s because 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. Meaning that a good salesperson can also adjust their communication style depending on who they’re dealing with.

Good Salespeople Vs Bad Salespeople: What’s the Difference?

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

How to Be a Good Salesperson: 6 Personality Traits & Selling Habits

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 say. 

Good salespeople understand that dialing 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. 

It also helps 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.

Also Read:

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 behaviors, 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 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.”

The Difference Between a Good Salesperson and a Great Salesperson

One of the most overlooked attributes needed in sales is consistency. Coincidentally, this is 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, why not 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 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

Great salespeople come prepared for meetings with all the necessary sales materials, product information, and answers to anticipated objections. This helps them to appear confident and knowledgeable, which instills trust in their clients.

4. Confident

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

A certain level of confidence is necessary for a salesperson to assume that they can make a sale before even meeting with the prospect. This level of confidence helps them project authority, expertise, and a winning attitude.

5. Self-Motivated

The best salespeople are driven and self-motivated. They have clear goals in mind and do everything necessary to achieve them. They have an unrelenting work ethic and a level of grit that helps them power through the tough times.

Great salespeople have their own goals in mind and do 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 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

The best salespeople don’t wait for the customer to follow up with them. Instead, they proactively check in to see how they can help the customer move forward. This helps to maintain the relationship and keep the sales process moving.

9. Organized

Successful salespeople keep track of all their prospects, past clients, and lost sales in a CRM system. This helps them know when to follow up, which leads to increased sales.

10. Quick On Feet

The best salespeople are quick on their feet and can adjust their pitch based on the current situation. They are prepared for any questions or objections and can pivot the conversation to meet the needs of the customer. This flexibility helps them close more deals and build stronger relationships with customers.

Final word: Discover How to Become a Better Salesperson

Develop a Measurable, Repeatable & Scalable Sales Process

One of the most critical components of becoming a better salesperson is having a well-defined sales process.

Your sales process should be measurable, repeatable, and scalable, which can be applied consistently across different customers, products, and sales situations.

A good sales process should include clear steps for prospecting, qualifying leads, delivering a pitch, handling objections, and closing deals. By having a structured approach, salespeople can identify areas of improvement and optimize their performance over time.

Become a Product Expert

To sell effectively, it’s essential to have a deep understanding of the product or service you’re offering prospects. 

A good salesperson should be able to articulate their offerings’ unique features, benefits, and value propositions clearly. 

By becoming a product expert, you can tailor your messaging to meet your customers’ specific needs and pain points, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale.

Discover Your Sales Personality

Every salesperson has a unique personality that can impact their sales style and approach. 

Some people are naturally outgoing and confident, while others are more reserved and analytical. 

Understanding your sales personality and leveraging it to your advantage is essential. For example, if you’re naturally introverted, you may need to focus on building rapport with customers and developing active listening skills to become a more effective salesperson. 

With the sales industry being faster than ever before, to keep up and achieve the best results possible, you must recognize your strengths and weaknesses. 

As with all industries, there are 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

Practice People Skills

Sales is naturally a people-focused profession, and developing strong interpersonal skills is crucial for success.

Good salespeople are skilled at building rapport, active listening, and effective communication.

They should be able to read body language, empathize with customer needs, and tailor their messaging to suit the customer’s communication style.

Practice Communication Style Flexing

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 successfully sell all four communication styles – Supportive, Open, Closed, and Organized – you must practice style flexing. 

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.

Learn to Accept Rejection

Rejection is inevitable in sales (and life), so learning how to handle it effectively is essential to your success. 

Good salespeople are resilient in the face of rejection, using it as an opportunity to learn and improve their approach. 

By reframing rejection as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal failure, salespeople can stay motivated and focused on achieving their goals.

Only Sell What You Believe In

Finally, it’s crucial only to sell products or services that you genuinely believe in. Customers can quickly spot insincerity, and selling something you don’t believe in is difficult. 

Good salespeople are passionate about their offerings and genuinely believe that they can provide value to their customers. 

You’ll be more likely to build trust and long-term customer relationships by selling with integrity and authenticity.

Fast Tracking Success: Develop Essential Sales Skills Online

Accelerate your sales career and master assessing the needs of customers

Sales is a skill that needs to be learnt, practised and mastered. In our Sales Accelerator pack, we teach you the skills all sales professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners need to sell effectively. Join us to master the sales process, starting with getting the right mindsetdifferentiating from the competitionbuilding strong relationships and delivering compelling sales presentations.

5 Courses In Sales Accelerator Pack
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