10 Essential Traits of Highly Successful Salespeople

Career Development

The most successful salespeople think and act differently than your average sales rep.

What sets them apart?

They’ve discovered the traits that ensure selling success, and work incessantly to cultivate those traits in themselves.

We’re going to share with you their secret sauce.

We’re going to tell you the top 10 traits of successful salespeople — and how you can use them to up to go from a good salesperson to a great one.

The Top 10 Traits of a Top Salesperson

There’s nothing special or magical about the traits of top salespeople. They’re simple traits — some may even seem obvious — but simple doesn’t mean everyone has them.

We’re going to fix that. 

The first step is identifying the problem.

So, let’s look at what traits you need to launch your sales career, and turn you into sales wizard.

Here they are:

  1. Upbeat
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Empathetic
  5. Accountable
  6. Well Prepared
  7. Tech-Savvy
  8. Highly Engaged
  9. Goal Oriented
  10. Relationship Driven

Now let’s dig in.

Success Trait #1: Upbeat

You’re going to hear a lot of “no” in sales. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this.

Hearing negative responses on a regular basis can be extremely disheartening. But for successful people, “no” doesn’t mean the end.

“No” doesn’t always mean no forever, it just means not right now.

Successful salespeople face setbacks with a positive attitude, they learn from them, and always look for an opportunity.

They come out of the most difficult of situations stronger than before. 

Success Trait #2: Passionate

Being passionate about your job means more than just working to meet a quota. 

Truly passionate salespeople work towards higher goals, like personal excellence and building long-lasting relationships.

Being truly passionate about the right things will have long-term benefits that continue to pay back for your entire career.

Top salespeople are passionate about growing their careers, and making sure they always bring their A-game.

However, they are primarily focused on making an impact on people’s lives, and they work towards that goal every single day. 

Success Trait #3: Creative

Creativity is important in sales. 

You may not think so, because creativity is often associated with writers and artists, but it’s true.

The top performers in sales look at things differently. 

Their creative thinking and analytical skills enable them to offer solutions that others just don’t see. 

They are resourceful, making the best out of whatever they have.

If you want to be the best, you need to be a creative problem solver who can come up with new and novel ways to help your customers — and by extension, you company.

Success Trait #4: Empathetic

Empathy and compassion are prerequisites to great customer service.

Empathetic salespeople listen intently to what actually affects people, and then provide them with the freedom to express their thoughts and concerns.

The best salespeople will put themselves in other people’s shoes — with no judgment or ulterior motives — to truly understand the other person. This tells them how best to help their clients.

You should always keep your customer’s success front-of-mind

If you truly care for your prospects, customers, and colleagues, it will show, and you will reap the rewards that trust will bring. 

Success Trait #5: Accountable

Accountability is important. Whether your taking credit for a success or a failure, you need to take accountability for your actions. 

The best salespeople take complete ownership over their work, and they do it with dignity and respect. 

Highly effective salespeople know how to take full responsibility for their own actions and do not blame other people or external influences that can affect results.

If something goes wrong, they take it upon themselves to find out why and fix it.

If something goes great, they find out why and cultivate it.

Successful salespeople don’t pass the buck.

Success Trait #6: Well-Prepared

Impressing clients and persuading them to spend money is no cake walk. 

Closing a deal requires a tremendous amount of research, confidence, and a flawless execution.

There are a lot of ways to get it wrong, and only one sure fire way to impress — be prepared.

Highly successful salespeople use every resource at their disposal to research and prepare for every call, meeting, and deal. 

They know everything about their product, every potential objection, and they know exactly what they are going to pitch before they ever walk into the meeting room.

They do NOT go on-and-on about products and services without offering something of value in easy-to-understand, jargon-free, talk.

Every presentation is tailor made and meticulously prepared for. There’s no excuse for getting this one wrong. It simply boils down to doing the work.

Success Trait #7: Tech-Savvy

Technology is an important aspect of Sales, and every year it gets a bigger role. 

CRMs, automation tools, AI, and every other innovation, past and future, have changed the way sales is done on a daily basis. 

In today’s sales world, if you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re behind.

Winning salespeople stay updated on the latest market trends, products, and technology.

They use any and all kinds of sales tools available to be more efficient and more successful.

The most successful salespeople are ahead of the game for a reason — they invest time in their tools. 

Success Trait #8: Highly Engaged

Being engaged is important. You need to be active and present every day at your company.

You need to love being a part of the organization you represent. 

Top salespeople almost universally love their job and the people they work with. They believe in their product, which means they can sell with complete conviction.

They are active and plugged in to their organization. They participate in assessments, surveys, and training programs

They take advantage of every resource their company provides. 

If you do this, your organization will also invest in you. 

When a company recognizes it has a superstar, they won’t want to lose you. So be plugged in. 

Success Trait #9: Goal-Oriented

The ability to set (and stick to) personal and professional goals is a common trait of the most successful salespeople.

I think most salespeople are goal-oriented. That’s likely part of the reason you ended up in sales in the first place.

Top sales pros take it to another level. 

They don’t just have a vague goal or direction. They know exactly what they want to accomplish (and by when), and they will plan everything around these targets.

The best salespeople also set ambitious goals — ambitious but achievable.

Successful salespeople set long-term goals that help them grow as an individual and as a professional. 

Reaching these goals requires patience, planning, and a long-term vision.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?

Success Trait #10: Relationship-Driven

Sales is all about relationships.

The best salespeople know the importance of building trust, and ensuring satisfaction with every deal. 

They also know these things can take time, which is why they follow up with prospects and clients regularly over time, not only when they’re trying to close a deal.

The key here is authenticity. 

The relationship needs to be authentic, not simply transactional.

There will undoubtedly be wins and losses, but the most successful salespeople never say goodbye to clients. 

They continue to help and support those they’ve already sold to, and reach out to people who have said no in the past.

The most effective salespeople know relationships are what drives sales, and they are personally driven by forming these long-term relationships.

What Next?

Now you know the traits you need to cultivate. So, what’s your next step?

It’s this: To begin the career-long process of practicing and implementing these success traits in your life and your career.

The goal? To build smart habits that make these 10 traits your natural way of being and doing.

Just one word of caution…

Great selling techniques can’t be acquired in a day, but you can start learning them today. 

So get out there and start becoming the best salesperson of tomorrow.

Bhaswati Bhattacharyya is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her 'me time' she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less-traveled places on the world map. For more such cutting edge content, follow @TeamCapabiliti.