Some sales reps believe successful salespeople are born, not made.
But here’s the truth: Training is everything.
Sure, some reps communicate more easily because they’re naturally extroverted. But don’t get it twisted — the introvert in the next cubicle can learn to be just as open and communicative with purposeful training and consistent practice. (They just have to try a bit harder.)
To elevate your sales game, make sure you understand your sales personality and know which traits of successful salespeople you don’t achieve naturally but want to learn.
The four sales personalities
Whether your sales savvy is natural or learned, your sales personality needs to contain the core attributes required for selling success.
Before we get into what those are, know your sales personality so you can tailor your approach to accommodate potential buyers.
You don’t just buy from anyone, right? Neither do your clients.
The four sales personality types can be broken down into these traits:
- Assertive: Goal-oriented, competitive, decisive, impatient, and controlling.
- Amiable: Good listeners who are curious and seek more than a surface relationship with clients. They’re also patient, friendly, and open to challenges.
- Expressive: Besides seeking strong personal relationships with clients, expressive reps are persuasive, outgoing, creative, spontaneous, intuitive, and enthusiastic.
- Analytic: These inquisitive reps don’t seek personal sales relationships. Instead, they’re fact-driven, formal, serious, direct, patient, and prepared.
Keep this gem in your back pocket: Traits of the most well-rounded, successful salespeople include qualities from all four sales personalities.
The traits of successful salespeople you need to develop
Self-motivated, knowledgeable, conscientious, transparent, confident (but also modest!), extroverted, great listening and communication skills, driven — yup, we’re still talking about salespeople at the top of their game; not your dream date.
But isn’t that what the job is? To sell yourself and your product as a dream-like solution to your customer’s problem until someone bites and gives you a shot? Pretty much.
Having the right skills is necessary to succeed in sales, but don’t underestimate the advantages personal characteristics will give you, too — and the good news is that both can be learned over time.
Make life easier on yourself to cross the finish line, sales rep. These are the traits you need to develop ASAP.
Remember when that bland and stoic sales rep convinced you to buy their crazy expensive product?
Aaah, that’s right… It never happened.
I’m sure you could’ve guessed, but sellers with high levels of empathy are better at listening, negotiating, and closing deals with customers.
As you pitch, dare to jump off the script to inject the empathy your memorized lines don’t make room for.
Business is buyer-focused, right? Here’s the key: Have enough empathy to see what your prospects need, which experiences they respond to, and which pain points hurt the most.
The desire to assist clients is not the only thing driving successful salesmen. Their sales character heavily features both helpfulness and aggressiveness.
Those in sales who take pride in climbing the ranks typically achieve their goals. Even if a salesperson doesn’t care about team performance, they still want to increase their own deal volume, client base, and quota completion rates.
Focused on goals
To thrive in sales environments, you have to manifest goal-orientation in your day-to-day tasks — or else you’ll sink under the weight of your workload.
By being open to your own challenges, you’ll be ready for anything your prospects throw at you.
If you strongly agreed at the goal-oriented question the last time you took a personality test, let’s fact-check that. Successful goal-setters:
- Create and execute effective plans that move them closer to business objectives
- Show urgency when approaching sales tasks and persist in achieving every goal
- Suck it up for “boring” duties because they get that it’s also an essential part of the gig
- Work on tasks with an endgame in mind
- Always review their tactics and tools to see what’s needed to close more deals
- Are self-starters who don’t depend on others to supply what they need
Goal orientation is a sales personality trait of all the G.O.A.T.s — get with the goal-gram, sales reps.
Curious and inquisitive
You’ll find that the traits of successful salespeople typically include curiosity, and it doesn’t take rocket science to understand why.
For starters, identifying a buyer’s needs start with asking the right probing questions. As much as you need to be prepared with rapid-fire rebuttals, make sure you know what to ask, too.
Salespeople who are naturally curious can ask their customers and clients probing, even uncomfortable, questions to learn as much as possible to address their concerns and close more deals.
The more you know, the more you stand to make.
Persistent and resilient
If it doesn’t come naturally to your sales personality, it’s time to learn how to be persistent.
There’s no way around, beside, or under it. Not if you want to cultivate the traits of successful salespeople, at least.
The reality is that sales success and rejection are a duo; if you want one, you need a high level of persistence to deal with the other.
Remember: The toughest salespeople don’t let obstacles get in the way of their success. They create new solutions to handle issues, seek new approaches to improve old practices, and then jump to the next meeting like it’s their first.
“But, I thought it was best not to pressure prospects?” Still true! But persistence and pressure aren’t the same things — it sure is a fine line to walk, though.
When done respectfully and consistently, persistence reminds customers that you have a solution to their problems. Plus, tenacity makes it a cakewalk to strive for goals even after multiple rejections, disappointments, and setbacks.
Honesty has always been important in sales, but in today’s world, when buyers are more educated and discerning than ever before, it’s no longer a luxury but a need.
The most effective salespeople are forthright in their motives and methods. I mentioned previously that they are firm believers in the efficacy of the products they are peddling. They are aware of the drawbacks as well as the advantages of their product or service.
They are honest and do not exaggerate potential advantages or dismiss valid worries. In a nutshell, the greatest salespeople can deliver their solution “as is” and show why it would be successful.
Successful salespeople are quick thinkers, but they rarely wing it when communicating with clients. The most successful salespeople understand the need of preparation for every kind of client interaction, be it a phone conversation, a product demonstration, a face-to-face encounter, or an email.
The most successful salespeople are those that invest time and energy into learning about their target audience, as this allows them to tailor their message and clearly express the value they bring to the table. They’ve also thought through potential objections and stocked up on the necessary resources.
In spite of the fact that it’s impossible to anticipate every single obstacle that may arise during a sale, the most effective salespeople nonetheless work hard to ensure they’re ready for as many of them as possible.
Ready to learn and improve their skills
In the debate of nature vs. nurture, don’t underestimate the power of discipline — regular practice and a commitment to being a lifelong learner win every time, people.
The most successful salespeople are aware that the sales industry is dynamic and ever-changing. Successful salespeople are always learning about the latest sales techniques, methods, and technology.
Events like sales seminars tend to pique their attention. Many are eager to contact corporate executives and top salespeople for brief one-on-one sessions in the hopes of picking up pointers on how to boost their own sales performance.
And when a company’s sales department begins to use cutting-edge software, they are among the first to fully commit to becoming experts in the new tools.
Do you have what it takes?
While you’re busy studying up on traits and habits of successful salespeople, keep these in mind:
Salespeople are adept in a variety of smart sales techniques, but the best ones also recognize their weaknesses and take the steps necessary to correct them.
Learn to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. The more you know, the more you can capitalize on your natural attributes.
The traits of successful salespeople grow over time, through practice. While you may appear to be a natural extrovert, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop the traits of successful salespeople.
To succeed, you should understand how your personality affects your selling style, set goals, and constantly be learning.