8 Characteristics of a Successful Sales Person

Aug 8, 2011 by

Most people in a service-based business get into the business because they want to help others. They want to make a difference. Many don’t consider themselves a sales person. Often, sales is a bad word leaving an icky feeling for service professionals.

But, you might be surprised at what makes someone successful at sales. It isn’t the ability to charm others. It isn’t having all the right credentials. And it isn’t the ability to manipulate others. The characteristics of a successful sales person are internal. They are all about your perception of yourself.

There are many studies of what makes someone successful at sales. Here are the top 8 that consistently show up over and over again.


8. Professionalism

Your prospects expect you to be the expert. They came to you for an answer to their challenge. They want to have confidence in you. Professionalism means coming prepared and on time to the meeting, being able to clearly articulate what you offer and how that addresses their challenges, and being present to the conversation. It doesn’t mean having more and more education or training, it means owning the role of the expert and professional you are.


7. Belief in Yourself and Your Service

If you’re not bought in, they will not buy in. Successful sales people truly believe in the service and value they offer. You have to believe in yourself as a professional and believe you have something of value to offer. Something people would and should spend money on to get.


6. Positivity

You would be amazed how many times I talk to service providers who walk into a sales conversation already believing the prospect is going to say “no.” Successful sales people walk into the sales conversation with a positive attitude. They understand a “no” is not about them; it’s not a rejection.


5. Patience

Service sales is not a one shot and your done thing. It’s about building relationships. Those who are successful in sales understand building relationships takes time and nurturing. Be comfortable planting the seeds and take the time to nurture them.


4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand the situation and feelings of others. Here is where the Know / Like / Trust factor really comes into play. Your prospect must know you for you to get their attention. They must like you to listen. And they must trust you to buy. Having empathy, demonstrating you truly understand what they are going through builds trust.


3. Passion

Passion is a powerful, compelling emotion. People can instinctively feel other’s feelings. Being passion about what you do, how you can help people, why you do what you do can’t be faked. People can detect passion through the tone of your voice, your body language, and the energy you project. Passion sells. Being passionate will draw people to you.


2. Intention

If you want into a sales conversation with the intention of  “I have to make this sale,” or “I can’t pay my bills if I don’t sign this client” your prospects will feel that.

Intentions are the objective of what you are doing. It’s the “why.” If your “why” is about you and not your prospects that comes across even unconsciously. I recommend setting two intentions, a primary and secondary. The primary is what you want your prospects to receive. That could be hope or to see possibilities or to understand they’re not alone. The secondary intention is what you want to receive from the conversation. It could be “I want to be seen as an expert,” or “I want to be seen as the answer to their situation,” or even “I want to be a resource.”

And it’s never a client. Gaining a client can represent confidence or success. So that is really what you want from the conversation. And that’s up to your definition.


1. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is an intense, inspired enjoyment. This is the physical translation of your passion. Being enthusiastic can motivate others into action to gain that same enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm for what you do and why you do it gives you the drive and energy to get done what needs to get done. It also sets you apart from the competition. Let’s face it, how often do we run into an enthusiastic sales person.


Being successful at sales isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be successful. But the key characteristics to being successful are internal. That means, being successful at sales in well within your own power.

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