5 Key Traits of a Successful Salesperson


Are YOU Cut Out for Sales?

How do you know if someone is truly cut out for a career in sales?

Short answer: It depends.

The world of sales is more broad than perhaps any other profession out there. There are so many types of sales jobs out there that not every standard “best practices” training can be applied to each and every position. In my opinion however, the one constant between any forms of sales positions is that sales is ultimately about people. This fact alone means that jobs in this trade are bound to attract and cultivate many different types of people, and many types of personalities.

So how do you know if your personality is in fact suited for a career in sales? Again, the short answer is: It depends. There isn’t one particular personality that is required to bring home large commission checks on a weekly basis. In fact, diversity between coworkers in the same office most often results in better overall production. So to make a long story short, there is no specific personality type best suited for a long, successful sales career. However, I do believe that there are specific personality traits that make for success, whether you’re selling on the phone, or in person.

For those keeping up with the blog, this may sound a bit like our previous article on the habits of top performers. Remember that this article is about specific personality traits that can be found in those who succeed in sales. So without further ado, here is our list.


Ambition ranks at the top of the list because a person without it simply cannot compete with someone who does have it. Ambition is trait that drives us to become salespeople in the first place, and it is the trait that keeps us here. If you aren’t the kind of person who cares about moving up in the world or taking control of your own destiny by being solely responsible for your own income, than you need to quit right now. I’m not joking. You have to have the internal desire to win. You don’t just want to win…you need to win.


People skills

This is a profession about people, no matter what or how you are selling. There is no way around this one. Someone with exceptional people skills is going to out sell the person who has always had trouble making friends 10/10 times. Do you find that it’s always been easy for you to not just meet new people, but relate to them? Can you have great conversations with a total stranger without much difficulty?  Do you find that getting your point across comes easy to you? Guess what? A career in sales is probably a perfect fit for you. If not, well…Information Technology jobs pay pretty well too.


People don’t buy things from people who seem unsure of themselves or of their product. Confidence goes a long way in any kind of relationship, and this is no different.  Some people naturally exude confidence in the way that they speak and interact with others. This is fantastic trait because someone who is confident in themselves will appear to be happy, successful, and ultimately confident in what they are pitching. Think about it – would you buy from someone who is giving off a nervous vibe and seems to be apologizing for selling you their product? Absolutely not.

Time Management

In almost any type of profession, those with excellent time management skills do better than those who don’t. In the world of sales, you almost certainly have down time when you are not pitching someone. Those who manage that time well by doing things to better prepare themselves for that next opportunity for a sale will likely see a lot more zeros on their checks than those who see down time as a chance to check their Facebook or browse /r/funny on Reddit. You will notice the top performers in your company are always busy, no matter what. Either they are pitching, or they are working on improving their game.

Another important element of time management is when you have multiple leads to juggle at the same time. Being able to get the work done without getting stressed out because of a “lack of time” is important. It was the famous Zig Ziglar who said “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”


Thick Skin

If you’re the kind of person who gets upset when they don’t get what they want, sales might not be for you. Save yourself the wasted time and endless headaches. But if you don’t mind being told “no” on an everyday basis, than you just might have what it takes. Even the greatest salespeople on the planet get more “no’s” than “yes’s”. That is the reality. How you let those “no’s” affect you will also play a major role in the amount “yes’s” you get. You can’t let your emotions get the best of you because your ability to bounce back from a pitch gone bad is critical to your success. It’s all about your own emotional intelligence and how you react to the unsuccessful sales calls.

You not only need thick skin, but you need to be willing to take the “no’s” as a learning experience, not just get mad and blame everything and everyone else.

That completes our list. Hopefully you possess some of these traits, and if so, are on your path to sales immortality. Think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments. Don’t worry about offending us, we’ve got thick skin.

This article was authored by Lawson, who is a team leader and a constantly successful top performer at his company. He knows what it takes to make it in this business and will be contributing articles and material often.



Enjoyed this article? Join like-minded salespeople and please Subscribe below for email updates of new articles and videos.

Author: Jason Karaman

Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service expert, trainer, author, and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife, Ashley. I enjoy reading (history, philosophy, and science are my favorite topics), writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to JasonKaraman@ExpertCaller.com

One Comment on “5 Key Traits of a Successful Salesperson”

  1. It’s difficult to quantify what makes a great salesperson “tick”. It’s even more difficult to assess if a job candidate is right for the job or not. A lot of these things are really difficult to measure – I am sure a lot of sales managers (including me) would love a way to know who has thick skin or not! In any event, great post and I look forward to reading more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *