Top 7 Traits Successful Sales People Have in Common & Why Blog Feature
Molly D Protosow

By: Molly D Protosow on July 20th, 2017

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Top 7 Traits Successful Sales People Have in Common & Why

Sales Training | sales coaching

From selling sneakers to services, any business venture needs great salespeople. Easier said than done, right?

Since not everyone is cut out for sales, how do companies identify the right people for the job?

We’ve put together this list of 7 characteristics that successful salespeople have in common.

See if you can pick out the traits your team exhibits...or needs to improve upon.

Selecting the right sales training program is integral to the success. But what do you need to know before making an investment? Download our free ebook for 3 key questions to ask to help you make a smart decision.

Take Me to the Guide


Being Proactive in Sales

A great salesperson needs to be proactive and take initiative.

This means you don’t wait around for orders. You take matters into your own hands by anticipating issues and questions through preparation and practice.

Being proactive means you have a process or system in place for staying organized, which gives you the ability to properly communicate and pursue the right opportunities.

An organized salesperson knows what’s going on and can better deal with everything on their plate so they don’t drop the ball on anything.

Any great sales rep should adopt the mentality that “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”


Persistence in Sales

In sales, being persistent is about your ability to consistently follow through on your sales process. 

The key to converting opportunities in your pipeline is your ability to hang in there when others have given up. It means being persistent with phone calls, emails or even a visit to their office.

In fact, Marketing Donut found that 80% of sales require 5 follow up phone calls after a meeting. In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today, it takes eight attempts.

The longer you can hang in there, the greater the chance that your competition has given up. Just remember to make that fifth, sixth and seventh call.

Rejection happens, no matter how good a salesperson is, but it’s persistence that increases a client's confidence in a salesperson's ability. It's what makes a salesperson stand out from everyone else. And it's how salespeople stay top of mind when the client is ready to buy.


Being Positive in Sales

Attitude is everything. The ability to stay positive when handling a variety of different situations or circumstances is a key trait of successful salespeople.

A common situation salespeople face is being told “no”. But the reality is, at any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying, 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin.

Salespeople who maintain a positive attitude when selling don’t take things personally. They are resilient and familiar with hearing the word “no”.

They don’t fear the “no’s” or allow them to embarrass or discourage, but rather they look at the “no’s” as a necessary and expected obstacle on the path to “yes”.

When you are positive, people will naturally find you likeable and pleasant to work with, which makes it easier to approach potential customers and keep them interested.


Resourcefulness in sales

Sales success hinges on your team’s ability to be resourceful.

Being resourceful doesn’t begin or end with what one single sales rep can accomplish. Being resourceful means using whatever tools, tactics, tricks, ideas, and methods available to you—especially other people on the team.

Resourceful sales teams work together to identify strengths and weaknesses in the sales process and pipeline, as well as share success stories and common obstacles.

They know the questions and objections the prospect will raise and are prepared with sales tools to deal with these issues and how to continue moving the deal towards closing.

Excellent salespeople adapt and maneuver around a wide variety of situations and know that advancing sales opportunities requires imagination and creativity to find a way or to make one.


Personable salesperson

Being personable seems like an obvious skill that any salesperson would need, but there’s a clear distinction that sets apart the average Joes from the charismatic James Bonds of the sales world.

This distinction is about how you conduct yourself in a conversation. The average rep is pleasant and able to carry on a conversation, but they lack the ability to go beyond a surface level discussion and usually do all of the talking.

On the other hand, the charismatic rep exudes confidence and curiosity by listening and observing, not by always being the first to talk. But when they do, they ask thoughtful questions that produce meaningful responses.

Being personable requires authenticity. When you express genuine interest in your prospect and their company, you create an open setting that encourages the prospect to feel comfortable sharing important information about the decision making process and their motivations to buy.  

Ultimately, helping you gain further insights to suggest the right solution and win the deal.


Being Empathetic in sales

Essentially, empathy means ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’. It means stepping outside of your own lived experience and opinions, and seeing where other people are coming from and what their motivations are.

In sales, we spend a lot of time trying to change people’s minds.

We move people from taking no action to taking action. We move them from buying from our competitor to buying from us. But too often salespeople rush forward trying to change minds without first understanding and respecting the client’s views and opinions.

Great salespeople who have a high level of empathy and emotional intelligence are able to put themselves in their buyer’s shoes. This helps establish a strong connection and build trust, which ultimately leads to building a better relationship. It also enables you to help lead the prospect or client to an educated decision because you’re able to empathize and understand the challenges they face.

Being empathetic is a valuable trait that all sales professionals should work on in order to become better at your job, as well as improve the relationships in your life.


Passionate salesperson

How can a salesperson exhibit all of these characteristics without a true love for his or her job?

Being passionate and letting your enthusiasm shine through about the product or service you’re selling influences your approach, level of performance and results.  

Passion is demonstrated by a strong conviction that what you are doing truly makes a difference. It’s about carrying yourself with integrity no matter the situation and genuinely striving to understand your customer’s needs and desires.

Trust and sales go hand in hand. A passion for selling can instill a sense of trust and credibility in a prospect. Passion is contagious, and when it’s viewed as real and authentic, prospects and customers know it.

They will likely respond by feeling what you feel and placing their confidence in you as a salesperson and the organization you represent.


This is just the beginning of a long list of traits and characteristics that contribute to the success of a sales team. Identifying what traits are most important to your sales organization is critical to finding and developing the right talent.

How does your sales staff stack up to these traits? If you’re looking to improve or build upon these skills, then you might consider sales training to bring them up to snuff.

Click below for three questions you should ask before making an investment.




About Molly D Protosow

Molly Protosow is the COO and Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.

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