Anyone who’s ever worked in sales knows it can be an incredibly rewarding career — and it can also be a very challenging one. Salespeople have to mediate the emotional roller coaster that comes with the role’s unpredictable mix of wins, losses and rejections. There are a few character traits the most successful salespeople share that keep them motivated despite the ups and downs. Here are just a handful.
The best salespeople believe in themselves and the product they’re selling. Their confidence comes through in every interaction and behavior: The way they talk, walk, stand and even shake hands inspires confidence and trust, which are crucial in any salesperson-customer relationship.
They Have Grit
Working in sales is tough; to be a great salesperson, you have to be tough, too. Having grit — the trait that empowers people to brush off their failures and press on — helps the best salespeople stay motivated to close the next win rather than stewing over a loss. Some of the most successful business leaders have proven this to be true; most notably, Steve Jobs was known for his relentless and nearly instant ability to refocus after a failure.
The best salespeople develop well-rounded relationships with their customers, instilling a bond that goes beyond a contract. That relationship comes more naturally to people with charisma and helps them win customers. Sales expert and self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie embodies this trait, and writes about it in his classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” where he says showing genuine interest, using someone’s name, and making someone feel important can be hugely powerful in the sales process.
The best salespeople follow a proven process and craft daily, weekly and annual plans to reach their goals. They start each day with careful and intentional planning rather than shooting without aiming. Zig Ziglar, known for his sales successes, argued one of the key differences between mediocre and great salespeople is preparation and time management. After all, we all have 24-hour days.
They’re Great Listeners
Being a salesperson is, first and foremost, about solving a problem. Too often salespeople ramble on about features and benefits when what’s more important than talking about the product is understanding the customer need first. Without understanding the need, it’s impossible to provide the best solution. Sales leaders know that and aim to understand first and sell second.
These traits may not always come naturally, but they can all be learned and improved through practice. They’re often the difference between an average salesperson and a top performer. Strengthen these characteristics in yourself and your team to see sales and customer satisfaction skyrocket.