7 Traits of Successful Salespeople [Infographic]

by Adam Luckeroth, on Aug, 6, 2014

There’s no doubt about it -- the role of sales in organizations is changing. Salespeople work more closely with marketing than ever before. With this changing role, it’s important to know what characteristics the successful modern salesperson must possess.


Cold calling is becoming increasingly rare as the digital landscape changes. Leads are developed from website and social activity frequently, and many salespeople are tasked with following up these leads. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are essential qualities to ensure success, and to navigate that final 25% of the buying process.

This infographic shows the top seven traits of successful salespeople. That’s not to say that these are the only traits that set apart the best and brightest -- but they’re definitely the most important. These traits include:

1. They work closely with marketing. On average, 75% of the buying process is complete before a salesperson is even called. As digital marketers become more content oriented, your potential customers have access to more information about your company and product or service than ever before. They already know a great deal about who you are, what you do, and what your current promotions are. Being on the same page with the marketing department, including current promotions and marketing materials, is the hallmark of an excellent salesperson. It’s like the adage says, don’t work harder -- work smarter.

2. They are storytellers. Great salespeople tell a compelling story, and enhance that story with relevant facts and statistics. Beginning with what’s called a ‘value hypothesis’ helps guide the narrative while creating that story -- you’ve done just as much leg work as they have to understand why your product or service is valuable to their organization. Many buyers have already done enough research to understand why they need a product or service like yours, it’s your job to tell them why yours is different.

3. They are goal oriented, and don’t rely solely on outside direction. A good salesperson knows their customers and their audience. They don’t need to be told where to go or what to do once they’ve established relationships with their customers. They use their customer relationships to generate even more leads to follow up on.

4. They ask for referrals. Generating new leads from existing customers is an under-utilized key to success in sales. People trust people like themselves. Who doesn’t want to walk into a sales meeting with a prospect who already knows how great you are? Or how amazing your product or company is? All you have to do is ask. Referrals are made especially easy in the digital world. As an added plus, your digital marketing team can repurpose these referrals to give your company some added credibility in marketing materials.

5. They are passionate about what they sell. If you’ve ever been in a meeting with a salesperson who didn’t love the product they were selling, you know how unappealing that can be. How are you supposed to convince someone that they’re going to love your product or service if they aren’t sure you do?

6. They focus on solving a problem. ‘Sales 101’ is that you need to understand your customer. Again, let’s think back to the value hypothesis concept - you take the time before the initial meeting to understand their pain points so that you are able to resolve those issues for them. Not only will that make their job easier, it will make them look like a hero to their boss. Who doesn’t love that? If they’re coming to you, they’ve already identified their problem and need to find a way to solve it. Use that, and work with them in finding the right solution for their needs.

7. They listen more than they speak. If you give your prospective customer space to speak their mind, you might identify even more opportunities to help them succeed. Good listening skills make the speaker feel heard and appreciated, and that’s exactly the kind of relationship you want to have with prospective and current customers.

These traits are universal across industries. No matter what you’re selling, a great salesperson will have these traits. Developing them in your sales force, and in yourself, will only help your product or service be successful.

If you have questions about other ways to improve your team’s success, Tweet them to us at @modusengagement or email us.

New Call-to-action
Topics:how to build a better sales teamimprove your sales teamPresentation TipsSalessales and marketingsales innovationMarketing