The success of a salesperson is ultimately measured by one thing—results. However, if you take the time to listen to a high-performing salesperson, it is clear to see why they’re consistently at the top of their game. It’s more than their mannerisms, their attitude, or the way they talk – it’s a combination of a number of different traits that all work cohesively to produce stellar results (and stellar customer service). Not everyone is cut out for sales, but if you possess even some of these traits, you’re off to a good start.


A great salesperson accepts responsibility and does not try to pass the buck. If there is a problem, they are accountable and will dig in to find the root cause of the issue. They don’t pass the blame on to their organization or their manager either. Rockstar salespeople feel a sense of responsibility for their company, team members, and their customers—meaning they’re not just concerned about closing the deal and walking away but are focused on how it impacts the team around them.


Empathy is an important trait for anyone to possess. To become a successful salesperson, you must have deep desire to understand the concerns that a prospect might be facing and find an ideal solution to their problems. The ability to establish rapport quickly and easily is particularly helpful in reducing relationship tension with new prospects. After all, people don’t care what you know until you show them that you truly care.


Individuals who are focused are more driven and self-motivated. In fact according the Harvard Business Review, 84% of top performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are laser-focused on their goals and what that need to do to maximize performance.

Another bonus of salespeople who are locked in on the prize is that they don’t need the constant supervision or direction that others do, and they are excellent at multi-tasking not easily distracted by issues that don’t serve their long-term objectives.


The ability to think outside the box is the mark of a strong sales team member. That means using imaginative techniques and different approaches in order to close a sale. The truth is that when it comes to a sales superstar, a ‘no’ can mean a ‘maybe.’ Therefore, being able to interpret the client’s needs and switch up methods under pressure to close a sale is desireable trait.


Optimism is a critical trait, particularly in the face of rejection or failure. It is so easy to become frustrated and feel helpless when things go wrong, or you go through that proverbial “sales slump.” The ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again is required in sales. Continual persistence means that a successful salesperson doesn’t let a negative situation affect their overall performance. For them, the glass is always half full.


Who wants to buy from a salesperson who doesn’t believe in themselves or their product? No one, that’s who. A successful salesperson knows their product or service inside and out and can clearly demonstrate the benefits to potential customers. But being confident doesn’t give a sales rep the green light to be arrogant or cocky. It’s about knowing who you are as a person, what you stand for and the expertise you bring to the table.


In sales, it’s important to be flexible and willing to move away from the standard approach-offering customized solutions that fit a client’s needs. Strong salespeople are not afraid to veer from the written script to solve a problem in a unique way. Today’s customers are better informed which means that the solutions and insights provided from sales must be over and above the vanilla specs they can get from a simple search on Google.


Honesty truly is the best policy when it comes to salespeople. Unfortunately, some traditional sales roles carry the “stigma” of being dishonest, which means salespeople have to work twice as hard to demonstrate they are trustworthy. In sales, it’s all about coming across as sincere. The most successful salespeople know when to admit they don’t have the answers and don’t make empty promises just to close the sale.

Bending the truth, even on a small scale, burns bridges with that customer and kills any chance for a referral in the long run.


Great salespeople don’t just love closing the deal, they also love their job too. They are passionate about the mission of the business and how their sales efforts make a difference. You can hear the passion in their tone and in their presentation, and it gives prospects just another reason to commit. Being passionate as a sales rep not only fuels sales, but it impacts team morale and helps to define an organization’s sales culture.


Salespeople need to find the balance between the gift of the gab and listening to what others have to say. The truth is great listeners make the best salespeople. The key is to ask open-ended questions that allow prospects and customers to share their pains, challenges and goals and to talk less about the features of your product.

Beyond being a great listener, great sales professionals regularly follow up with customers, both past and present, to stay top of mind and provide them with valuable resources.   

Most of these traits are not only necessary to succeed in sales but required if you want to be a generally good human. In the end, people buy from people…and usually people that they like.