What Makes a Great Salesperson?


Sales teams are the lifeblood of any company. They propel the revenue and growth of your organisation. Hiring great salespeople is crucial to the success of your business, and understanding what makes a great salesperson is increasingly vital for companies to recruit and hire top salespeople. When thinking of salespeople, our minds automatically think of someone pushy and relentless. In reality, salespeople are much more than the outdated cold caller model. Nowadays, great salespeople build rapport and connect with their prospects. Here are some traits to distinguish between a good salesperson and a great one. 

What Makes a Great Salesperson

A sales career is one of the most complex professions, making it difficult to succeed. There is no blueprint for a successful salesperson as skills and personality traits will differ based on industry and product. However, some common qualities make a great salesperson, including:

  1. Competitiveness
  2. Active Listening
  3. Resilience
  4. Confidence
  5. Goal-Oriented


Salespeople are competitive. They relentlessly push to win and gain a competitive advantage. Salespeople are always looking to improve and outperform their competitors. Setting and smashing goals energises a competitive salesperson as they aim to exceed their performance and the performance of others. 


Great salespeople are active listeners. They seek to understand what the other person is attempting to communicate. Salespeople go beyond simply hearing and focus on other forms of communication such as tonality and body language to understand what their prospects are communicating. They practice effective listening skills.


Sales can be a bit of a rollercoaster. One month you might be hitting KPIs with a spell of closings. However, the next month you might hit a rough patch with fewer prospects and conversions. Great salespeople are resilient. They know how to overcome rejection and bounce back from a dry spell. Rather than becoming dejected, they use failure as fuel. 


Confidence is essential to be a great salesperson. A good salesperson believes in the product or service they are selling and appear confident and in control. Enthusiasm is infectious and will create trust and security between you and your client, ultimately making them feel more comfortable when closing the deal.

Goal Orientation

Great salespeople are highly goal-oriented. They avidly pursue their goals and exceed previous levels of performance. Setting high goals breeds motivation among salespeople driving them to find new opportunities and close deals. The best salespeople constantly create new goals to keep them on track and on top of their tasks. 

How to Be a Great Salesperson

In addition to the above characteristics, there are also many skills and techniques a person can learn to become a great sales professional. Sales techniques assist a salesperson in understanding their market and prospects better and even how to motivate their client into a buying decision. To be a great salesperson, you should learn how to incorporate these techniques into your skillset. Here are three of the most effective sales techniques:

  1. Master your market
  2. Focus on qualified leads
  3. Understand DISC theory

Master your Market: There are tremendous benefits of mastering your market and creating the perception of being an industry expert. You cannot be an effective salesperson if you don’t understand what you are selling and who you are selling to. You need to know more than your prospects name and position. You need to know their pain points, challenges and motivators. This knowledge will improve your understanding of prospects in your market and how they can benefit from your solution. Not only will becoming an expert in the market help you sell it will also get you in front of new potential clients and motivate them into making a buying decision. 

Focus on Qualified Leads: From the get-go, you need to understand what businesses or customers will be a good fit for your company. Creating a target market profile will ensure you are not wasting time at the lead qualification and prospecting and presenting to leads who are unlikely to convert into customers. Your prospecting and lead qualification will become more strategic through education and experience. The more you learn from successes and failures, the better you’ll understand which prospects are the best fit for your company and solution. Ensuring you are only engaging with qualified leads will ensure you’re not spending as much time selling to them. You are likely to have a higher probability of closing them and, therefore, great conversion rates. 

Understand DISC theory: Knowledge of DISC theory is a practical skill that you can use to understand yourself and speed read your prospects. DISC theory helps salespeople master the skills that help them build rapport and understanding with all types of clients and prospects. Understanding DISC theory will help you interact at a level your prospects are engaged and comfortable with, ensuring a great first interaction and an effective ongoing relationship. Knowledge of DISC theory is an instrumental skill of a great salesperson. DISC helps you understand your prospect’s behavioural style and how you can adjust your sales style to better communicate with your prospects. Sometimes you need to embody an I style to generate excitement about a product. Other times they need to demonstrate to an S style that they are sincere in their willingness to provide support and security. When interacting with a C style, they may need to ensure they have all the details and facts to make a convincing argument. When communicating with a D style, they need to be prepared to be direct and to the point to close the sale. Learning to recognise the DISC style of your prospective client or buyer is only half of the sales equation. Successful sales professionals also need to know how to adjust their behaviour to different situations quickly. If your sales staff cannot adapt to different buyer styles, they will not be as successful as they can be. 

What are the Qualities of a Good Salesperson?

There are numerous qualities of a good salesperson. These qualities enable salespeople to create a great sales experience for their prospects and convert them into loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Here are some of the top qualities of a good salesperson. 

  1. Great listeners and communicators
  2. Empathetic 
  3. Competitive
  4. Create value for their prospects
  5. Customise and adapt their pitch according to the needs of their prospect
  6. Stay ahead of industry trends
  7. Take advantage of the latest technology
  8. Goal-orientated
  9. Resilient
  10. Motivated and driven to succeed