6 Common Characteristics of Successful Sales People 

We live in a harsh world. The average never make it to the list of people who are fondly remembered or discussed in everyday life. As a culture, we only agree to recognize and memorize names of the ones who stand on top of what they do. For a successful person in sales, there are some common attributes found in most of them. We all have that one or more such superstars in our organizations.

Here is a list of some common traits that these people invariably possess:

  1. They focus on building relationships

Customers believe that sales reps are 88% knowledgeable on product and only 24% on business expertise.

~ Corporate Visions

It’s something as simple as this. Would you buy a product or service from an absolute stranger walking up to you? Despite the product being a winner, you would still hesitate, and you have every reason to. The fact is – it is rarely the product or service we are skeptical of. More often, it is the person we are dealing with that becomes the reason for our decision making.

The top salespeople use Linkedin at least 6 hours per week.

~ The Sales Management Association

Before meeting a client for the first time, it is absolutely essential to focus on building a rapport prior to that. There are a lot of things to be taken into consideration here. The first is – use of social media to understand the person’s profile as well as do some research on the organization that he/she represents. LinkedIn is a great platform for this and in today’s world of corporate transparency, a lot about organizations can be found out with a little research online. After finding out about the possibilities with such a prospect, one should reach out through an email asking for a meeting, addressing the person as politely and professionally as possible, without being pushy.

  1. They offer solutions over products and services

70% of people make purchasing decisions to solve problems. 30% make decisions to gain something.

~ Impact Communications

A great sales rep does not sell products and services, he sells solutions. They learn early that selling is not about them or their quota, but it is about the customer. A competent sales person always helps to fill the need of clients with their products. They have an amazing ability to influence a client’s thinking, not in a pushy way but in a sort of way that is convincing and leads the way for closure. These people are excellent problem solvers and solution creators. For them, their goal is to help people find what they really need, rather than meeting a quota for themselves every month. Instead of asking potentially threatening questions to understand the exact requirements, these winners ask well crafted, open ended questions after establishing a rapport with them such as “What do you like about your present solution?” or “If you had a chance, what features would you like to add to the present solution?”

sales techniques

  1. They go beyond the standard presentation

After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.

~ Dan and Chip Heath

An average salesperson would give the same presentation in the same style over and over again to a client. For a great sales person, every presentation is customized such that it fits the buyer’s specific needs and wants. Once they know about what the clients expectations are, they tweak their pitch accordingly. If a client wants only a part of a solution, they will not burden them by talking about the product in its entirety, but rather talk about those features and benefits that could be a highlight to that particular prospect. They curtail the presentation to meet the objectives that can make it easier for them to reach closure.


  1. They do not use jargon

One of the best ways to shoo customers away and alienate them can be by using industry standard jargons or buzzwords while making a pitch or a conversation. This is a sign of the sales person trying to show off his or her knowledge about the industry and can turn a potential client off. Great sales people do not use jargon, they use simple language and they ensure that their buyers are not left confused. This holds more value in technology or software cases where the possibility of technical jargon can swipe away the potential for a good conversation. Instead, words and sentences should be translated for clients into a language that they want to hear and will understand.

  1. They know the true definition of a deal

A great sales person knows that a deal is not really a deal until it is signed, sealed and delivered. A lot of clients may spend time with a sales rep, yet keep coming back with varied responses that prolong the probability of an association. Such “be backs” cannot be considered as reasons for considering it as a closure. Great sales people also do not use these reasons as an excuse to get their manager off their back. The blame game is very common in the world of sales, but the best sales people take accountability and responsibility for their actions and do not use such tactics to run away from questions by senior management. They know that there is nothing more important in sales than closing. This is why they put themselves in their customer’s shoes and aim at giving them what they want.

sales techniques

  1. They always follow up

80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales people give up after 1 follow-up.

~ The Marketing Donut

Following up is much more important that we expect it to be. A simple follow up can open closed doors and lead to potential meetings. Customers who buy for the second time are more likely to become regular customers. Even once a successful sale has been made, there should be frequent follow ups about the state of the association in order to make the customer feel appreciated and valued.

91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of sales people ask for referrals.

~ Dale Carnegie

Building such a rapport can also open doors for referrals as a satisfied prospect is likely to recommend a good business to his networks.

Did we miss out on something? Do let us know in the comments section if you would like to add more to this list in our encounter with sales superstars.

About the Author

Bhaswati B

Bhaswati 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. Follow her @Bhaswatibh