Quality traits like ambition and confidence are the great characteristics of every successful salesperson, but they’re not always so great in every situation. Too much of either at certain times might actually break your deal.
In this post, we’ll walk you through Eight of the Most Important Traits found in top salespeople and how to balance them in order to become a successful salesperson yourself!
A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
Confidence is one of the most common traits for all successful salespeople. Adam DeGraide, a successful entrepreneur and popular motivational speaker, told Inc magazine that the number one quality he looks for in a sales hire is a “confidence with a touch of arrogance”.
It’s important that your sales reps are confident they can close deals, or they have the confidence in the product’s or service’s ability to address the issues their clients are experiencing. When we display too much confidence, however, we have an arrogant salesperson who demonstrates an egotistic, dismissive demeanor and behavior that alienates their clients and colleagues.
A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
Sales is very much a goal-driven occupation, and in a very clear way everything is transparent—you either make the quota or you don’t. Ambition is an important trait of any motivated salesperson and it allows them to hit their quotas or close more deals than the previous quarter. But being ambitious to the point where you’re overly competitive and alienating could break your deal.
Always be ambitious, but remember to also be pleasant to those around you so that everyone can help each other on the way to hitting that quota every month!
(of a person) having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert.
Extroverts enjoy talking and meeting new people, are sociable, make friends easily and are always conversation starters. This helps them to positively approach sales opportunities when meeting new people and learning about their goals. Extroverts are likable and most clients would prefer to buy from someone they like, rather than not. According to Lifehacker, however, sales experts have recently concluded that introverts also make the best salespeople.
Trent Hand, a trained life coach explains- “Most extroverts tend to “wing it” quite often, as a natural tendency; they like to get into a situation and figure things out as they go along, which is a great quality in social settings and creative work. This trait will also kill a sales career. Customers become very suspicious of someone who is constantly smiling, laughing, joking, and talking—we all have an inherent ‘bs meter’ that flares up anytime someone begins talking too much.”
Successful sales are about understanding your customer’s needs and helping fulfill those needs through the product or service. Introverts accomplish this differently than typical extroverts, as an introverted salesperson will quietly assess the needs of the customers, anticipate objections and carefully qualify the clients before making any decisions. So extroversion is great, but becoming a top sales rep requires some ‘introvert’ traits as well! Read more in the Lifehacker article.
4. Lack of Gregariousness
Lacking of gregarious nature. Gregarious – (of a person) fond of company; sociable.
Similar to extroverts, gregarious people are very sociable and love being around people. Being friendly is great, because the customers feel they’re buying from a person, not a robot. Customers feel warm and welcomed, and friendliness is a great way to improve customer experience.
According to a Harvard Business Review that tested 1000 personality traits of B2B salespeople, however, top sales performers averaged 30% lower as ‘gregarious’ than below average performers. According to the study, this trait affects the salesperson’s ability to demonstrate dominance and to gain the willingness of customers to take recommendations and advice from the salesperson. The study concluded that overly friendly salespeople are often too close to their customers, and so have difficulty establishing dominance. Gregariousness is important to a degree but could break the deal if you fail to demonstrate the required amount of control.
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
The fact is that with sales, comes rejections, especially in cold selling.
It’s the common standard to hear, “no”, sometimes even before you get to explain how your product/service can help. So resilience is a crucial characteristic in sales, otherwise you’ll end up crying every time a deal goes south or a lead hangs up on you. CEO of RJMetrics Robert J. Moore tells Inc – “A great salesperson isn’t easily discouraged, and doesn’t take the rejection on a personal level.”
You do have to have a thick skin and the ability to quickly recover from lost deals and rejections, and sometimes even the occasional unpleasantries you may experience dealing with difficult clients. However, resilience without careful afterthought can break the deal too. Along with resilience, it’s also important that after a dropped deal, the salespeople goes back and analyze each situation—what went wrong, and how it can be improved or be prevented in the future. Because you may be able to quickly recover from a bad situation, but can also find yourself in the same situation again if you fail to learn from your mistakes.
Persistent salespeople are able to approach each of these tasks as a challenge. And while there is an overlap between resilience and persistence, resilience is the ability to spring back, and persistence is often more about simply not giving up. Don’t give up when a customer says ‘no’ or hangs up on you, because 80% of sales happen after the fifth attempt! Pick up the phone again and say– “Hello, yes, I’m calling back because I know you didn’t mean to hang up on me.”
Yes, they may get annoyed, but what have you got to lose? The best case scenario? You now have a qualified lead!
But too much persistence can break your deal. Customers may find overly persistent salespeople intrusive, especially if they’re still in the process of accessing your product. Bottom line—be persistent…when appropriate!
A strong desire to know or learn something.
Curiosity is the desire to learn about the client. What they do and why they might need your product or a service are great information when closing a deal. Curious people are also coachable—they’re hungry for knowledge, and want to learn how to sell smarter and better, as well as learn more about the product or service they’re selling. Curious people also ask a lot of questions. But sometimes clients may share less, feel uncomfortable or annoyed when too many questions are being asked. When you ask your clients too many questions, you might often be unsure if they’re answering because they feel a real need to or simply in order not to be rude.
Curiosity is great, but always make an effort to ask ‘open’ questions that will allow you to get as much information about your prospect’s company and what they need. In this way, it’s up to them to share want they want to share…so don’t interrogate!
(of a person) wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.
Conscientiousness is the desire to be thorough and meticulous, along with the mentality to work hard and get things done. It also refers to someone’s dependability when both setting and achieving certain tasks and goals. This is a no-brainer, make the deal trait, and is perhaps one of the most talked about of top sales performers. Conscientious sales reps set high goals, work hard then track and analyze their performance using thorough data. They’re also able to focus on attaining those high goals with a clear purpose, strategy and process carefully worked out all the way to the close!
Got more traits that can make or break a deal? Tell us all about them!