7 traits of a great salesperson: How do you size up? [QUIZ]

Do you ever wonder what separates great salespeople from the average ones?

Are they more confident or charismatic? Or perhaps they have more experience? The truth is that sales success comes down to a combination of professional skills and personality traits.

The best salespeople are passionate about their work, resonate with their customers, and take pride in their art form. Some of them are like modern-day MacGyvers—they don’t complain or step back when they come up against a challenge. Instead, they use their energy and skills to work things out. They’re confident, creative, and resourceful.

Knowing your product or service offering inside out is just as important. Elite salespeople are experts on uses, features, specs, potential advantages, and so on. At the same time, they genuinely care about their clients and want to help them find the right solution for their needs.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in sales, read on. Below we’ll share some of the most important traits of a great salesperson and why they matter.

Think you have what it takes to be a great salesperson? Take our quiz and find out what your sales personality type is!


Salespeople spend hours replying to emails, attending meetings, and prospecting clients every day. Some resort to aggressive tactics in an attempt to entice customers into buying.

Elite sales professionals know how to market their products without hounding the customer. They ask the right questions, provide relevant information, and have a strong desire to deliver value. Great salespeople first get to know the buyer and then share their perspective or make recommendations. They are never pushy or aggressive.

For example, the average salesperson could tell a customer: “We need an answer by Friday, or the offer is off the table.” An assertive salesperson, on the other hand, will ensure the buyer has the information he needs to make a decision.


Harvard Business Review identified two basic qualities that every salesperson needs in order to be successful. The first one is empathy.

Great salespeople take the time to understand their target audience. They can put themselves in the customer’s shoes so they can feel what he is likely to be feeling. This allows them to build rapport with their prospects and take the steps needed to turn them into buyers.


Harvard researchers also note that great salespeople genuinely feel good about closing deals. They care less about financial gain and more about their ability to persuade and sell. Failure motivates them to work even harder and overcome their limitations.

This drive coupled with empathy enables salespeople to reach their full potential. They know they’re the best, but they continue to challenge themselves to grow and do more.


Successful salespeople believe in what they are selling. As Hilary Hinton ‘Zig’ Ziglar once said: “If you believe your product or service can fulfill a true need, it’s your moral obligation to sell it.”

Learn as much as you can about the products or services you are promoting. This will allow you to fully understand their potential uses and how they will benefit customers.


A great salesperson doesn’t get discouraged when things fail to work out as planned. Instead, they embrace the challenges that come their way and view failure as an opportunity to learn.

Think outside the box and seek new, innovative ways to turn things around when the sales are slow. If you fail to meet your quota, try to figure out what could have been done better.


The best salespeople are go-getters. They don’t shy away from asking questions, making recommendations, and pushing for more of everything. They also set goals for themselves instead of waiting to be told what they should aim for.


Remember the old saying, ‘Curiosity killed the cat?’  Forget about it if you want to make a career in sales.

The best professionals in this field have an innate curiosity. They are eager to learn more about their prospects, their competition, and the sales industry. This allows them to continuously learn and stay on top of the latest market trends.

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