Traits and Skills of Successful Salesmen

traits-and-skillSales jobs may vary in many ways, but the skill set that makes for good salesmanship remains constant across all industries. Sales professionals who have honed these skills are the ones most likely to move up to sales manager and sales executive.

It doesn’t take natural talent to be an effective salesperson. It takes the following traits that can be developed and skills that can be learned.


This is by far the most important trait of the successful salesperson. You must believe in yourself and your product for your prospects to believe in you. When you project an aura of confidence, you convince others that that you are a person they’ll want to deal with. Speak with authority and answer questions without hesitation, and you’re halfway towards making the sale.


Also known as perseverance, this trait is what makes successful sales professionals refuse to give up after being told “no.” If you think initial disinterest is your cue to leave, you need to work on your persistence. It’s possible that your prospect is not in the proper mood to sit through your pitch. Ask him if it’s possible to schedule a meeting on a later date. If you don’t persist, you’ll never know for sure if you’ll be able to close the deal.


Making a sales pitch requires a lot of talking skill, but just as important is the ability to listen. Take the time to listen well to your prospect’s queries. Understand where he’s coming from when he asks you a question. When you ask him questions, pay close attention to his answers. Don’t ever interrupt him as he speaks. If you need something clarified, wait for him to finish before you ask. It’s important that you give your prospect the respect he deserves.


It’s one thing to know a product’s features, and it’s another thing to know how these features translate into benefits. When you can convey the benefit of your product effectively, you answer the basic “what’s-in-it-for-me?” question. This is persuasion in action. For example, if you’re selling a car with dual airbags, you have to be able to explain how this feature translates into a benefit: safety for the front seat passenger as well as for the driver. If you can make your prospect believe that your product is something he must own, you have successfully persuaded him.

Network Building

Beyond just closing the deal, a good salesman knows how to build a network of contacts. When you make a successful sale, you establish a rapport with your customer. Don’t hesitate to ask him for referrals. These can be colleagues, friends, relatives, neighbours, just about anyone your customer knows. These will become your new prospects, who in turn can potentially give you their referrals. Keep adding to your list. In the business of sales, you can’t have too many contacts.

Initiative and Drive

A good salesman never stops looking for ways to improve. If you want to stay on top of the selling game, you have to always try to think of new ways to deliver your pitch. For example, you can take the initiative of knowing your competitors’ products so you can make comparisons when you make your pitch. Review your sales practices, look for ways you can develop further, and you’ll continue to bring in the profits.


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