September 15, 2016 // 12:08 pm

What to Look for in a Salesperson – The Top 5 Characteristics

By James Snider

Great salespeople are always going to be integral to the success of a business. Whilst every salesperson is different, there are certain characteristics that the top salespeople seem to possess. We find out what to look for in a salesperson and why those qualities are so important to those who excel at sales.


What to Look for In a Salesperson

1. Communication

Every top salesperson should be able to communicate effectively. They should be able to talk to different prospects with different needs and still give them confidence that your business offers the best solution.

A key aspect of this is empathy. Knowing what the customer is thinking and feeling enables the best salespeople to elicit the trust required when convincing them to make a financial commitment to your business.

2. Persistence

The best salespeople don’t let themselves get down when dealing with rejection or getting negative reactions from people. Opportunities won’t create themselves, and top sellers always bear in mind that the next call could be their next sale.

We’ve already seen how persistence pays off when trying to get through to potential customers. Nurturing a lead over a long period of time can still lead to a sale.  Good salespeople know this is the case, and are prepared to put the effort in over a longer period.

3. Assertiveness

Striking the right balance between pursuing a sale and not making the customer feel uncomfortable can be tricky. An overly passive approach means that sales slip through the net, or that customers don’t have confidence in the seller. Similarly, an overly pushy style will make your prospect feel like they’re being pressured into something they don’t want.

Being confident and assertive is key. It’s important that you know what you’re talking about and also, what you want from the situation. By asking for it in a polite and positive way, good salespeople convey authority that helps build customer trust.

4. Focus

Clearly defined goals and knowing how to achieve them will help salespeople can improve their performance. It’s the reason so many sales teams use target boards to drive their teams on, having clear targets helps people know not only what is expected, but incentivises them to meet and exceed those goals.

The great salespeople are the ones who see targets as not only a way to help the business but as a way of furthering their own development, and take pride in achieving those goals.

5. Responsibility

When a customer buys from you, they’re putting their faith in the business but also your salesperson. Often careers hinge on results, and bad business decisions could potentially lead to job losses should things go wrong.

Great salespeople are the ones who are always focused on the needs of the customer or client. Whether this means being more amenable to their needs or going above and beyond the call of duty when required, the best sales representatives are the ones that their customers feel confident enough to put their trust in them.


Have these 5 qualities at the forefront of your mind when you’re next considering what to look for in a salesperson, and help pick out those with the skills to succeed.


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