What Makes a Good Salesperson? 25 Qualities to Look For

SalesWhat Makes a Good Salesperson? These 25 Qualities

When hiring a new sales representative, look for the empathy of a good friend and the competitiveness of a star athlete in equal measure. Here’s a list of qualities any candidate for your small business sales team should possess.

What Makes a Good Salesperson?

Ability to Listen

A good salesperson needs to satisfy a client’s needs. The only way to find out what those are is by listening to what each prospect is saying. The best salespeople aren’t always talking.


A good salesperson knows how to feel what their customers feel. By getting inside a prospect’s skin, they know just how to sell a product or service. Empathy is a great way to anticipate what a customer wants.


These folks also have a need to sell that goes beyond the money. They have personal needs only a sale can help them with. In short, their egos need to be fed with good sales numbers.


Salespeople who succeed enjoy measuring their skills against their peers. In a word, they’re competitive. They don’t just want to get better at what they do. They want to be better than everyone else.

Networking Ability

Good salespeople love to network. They get involved in their community and have many different business relationships. Networking is not so much a part of the job to them but the way they like to spend their time.


Believing in the product or service they are selling is essential. That comes across as a confidence that’s infectious and makes customers want to buy more.


A successful salesperson is always motivated. They are always ready to make a sale at any given moment and continually looking for possibilities.


Top earners know how to bounce back from a dry spell. They don’t get discouraged when the sales numbers are down. Rather, they look for innovative ways to turn things around.

Multitasking Skills

An outstanding salesperson knows how to juggle deals they are trying to close with promising leads. They can even  respond to queries through emails and on the phone at the same time. Great multitaskers make excellent additions to any sales team.


The folks that are best at selling stuff are also honest. They know that shady deals lead to burned bridges that can multiply and cost a lot more than one client.


Being curious with the clients and the product is only the start. The best of these folks are also on the lookout for changes in the industry and what’s offered by the competition.


An outstanding sales representative can go with the flow. Adapting to the client’s schedule and preferences can make all the difference.

Communications Skills

There’s no way around having excellent verbal skills if you’re trying to sell people goods and services. People who excel here know how to stay away from jargon and hard to understand concepts.


Without being rude or pushy, good salespeople know how to get the job done. They know many people face the most challenging obstacle just before they reach their goal. They know how to work through slumping sales numbers.


When a sales representative loves their company, it shows in their pitch. That’s why the most successful salespeople are the best  cheerleaders for their small businesses at the same time.


Sales is hard work. The people who really succeed don’t wait for customers to come to them. Prospecting takes up a lot of their time.


Sales representatives that position themselves at the top stay in touch with their clients. They send birthday, anniversary and thank you cards. It’s all about looking for new ways to stay in a client’s mind.

Understanding of Value

The real superstars in this line of work understand that selling isn’t just about price. They know how to use a value proposition to full advantage.


Setting goals and achieving them is important in every small business. That’s especially true for the quotas that salespeople work towards.


Charming sales representatives create a good first impressions and open the door to sales. Working on your diction and having a groomed appearance makes a big difference.


Salespeople who can think on their feet and fit in with changing situations are worth their weight in gold. Having a strong imagination is a valuable characteristic.


Some clients need a little more handling than others to close a sale. A good sales representative knows this and takes all the time needed.


Taking matters into their own hands is the mark of the real pro here. If there’s a product or services that needs to be sold, they can find a way.


Being self motivated and working on a commission make the best salespeople  really good at working on their own.


Finally, the best salespeople know they need to go above and beyond to be successful. They like to set the bar high and are continually try to meet new goals.

Salesperson Photo via Shutterstock


Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

6 Reactions
  1. It takes time to develop a talented salesperson. It takes a person who has encountered rejection multiple times and doesn’t give up.

    • Airo Bongco that’s very inspirational thank you for positive ideas you’ve shared, I have been in sales department for more than I can remember. The problem was I didn’t have so much potential,others says that I have a bright smile but I personal don’t feel supportive neither feel that way….

  2. Thanks for the article about the attributes of successful sales people. I thought your readers might find this article to be of interest. It is based on some of our most recent research and strongly reinforces the points in your article. https://www.salestestonline.com/sales-personality-test-5-personality-traits-of-top-sales-people-closers

  3. Now happily retired after 32 amazing years with Princess Cruises, I agree 100% with this article. Through mergers, acquisitions, 911, a recession that seem to never end, oh and did I mention a couple of wars, if you do not possess all or most of the bullet points in this article “what makes a good sales person” you will run a ground quickly. On the other hand even if you do possess 100% of the bullet points in this article, having a great boss helps to unlock all of your potential. Fortunately for me I did.

  4. And don’t forget that a salesperson should be Friendly and Helpful.

  5. Yes a good sales person having friendly nature
    And helpful to everyone