Good Salesman

What makes a good salesperson: 16 common traits found in them

Published on June 2, 2021
Venkat Sridhar
Content Writer,

"There is always room at the top." - Daniel Webster.

It's true. There is always room for the best ones at the top - no matter which field they're in - if they're genuinely interested and have potential, then success will follow them. And, it's no different in sales. 

When you look at some of the best salesmen on this planet, they will have a passion for their job and will have their own signature moves while approaching a client. Though every salesperson has a single destination, the journey will be unique. 

Now you may ask how to be a good salesperson?

Experts would cite that to improve your selling ability, you have to follow successful salesmen. Some may even ask you to develop the qualities and traits of these super-salesmen in the hope of transforming you from good to great. However, each one of them has different traits and it becomes a tad difficult to develop so many qualities.

To help you with this, we have listed 16 very common traits found in any good salesman, irrespective of their industry, their line of business, their demographics, and their experience. Going through them will answer your question - How to be successful in sales.

16 common traits found in a good salesman 

  • They are tough as nails

In sales, there will be good days and bad days. A good salesperson knows how to navigate around the bad ones and how to treat them as stepping stones to hop ahead. As a sales rep, you have to carry your confidence forward for every meeting, otherwise, you can't really earn the buyer's trust. Successful sales reps will have a positive mindset even if they have faced the worst nightmares with previous customers. They will stay calm in all situations and constantly tweak their approach to regain their lost position at the top.

  • They prepare like warriors
    Sales Warriors

A good salesman will be always well-prepared for a meeting. They will research and gather every piece of information related to the clients' business and find answers for possible comebacks and objections. Details they collect will aid them in qualifying the leads and meticulously tailor the sales pitch according to it. They use tools like Rafiki to fine-tune their pitch based on other successful reps. It helps compare their success with the best calls using key pitch metrics.

  • They follow the 40-60 Rule

Once all the details are collected, the sales reps start making their moves. A good one will keep their conversation subtle. Rafiki has identified that most successful sales reps usually follow the 40:60 talk-listen ratio. They tactfully keep the calls under their control in spite of not talking for more than 40% of the total call duration. And when they talk, they focus only on the right topics. Rafiki recommends the best topics to talk about that can help them close better. All they have to do is build a strong relationship with the prospect and try extracting hidden details about them and their business that they couldn't find through their research. 

  • They lend both their ears to the sellers

Successful sellers are good listeners. They listen to what the buyer is telling as they know it will help them prepare for their next moves. They keep their ears wide open and even take notes to identify and analyze the pain points of the prospect. Some reps use tools like Rafiki to record and transcribe calls, summarize the notes, and analyze the key topics. Rafiki also handles the follow-ups, next steps, and seamlessly syncs with CRMs like Zoho, Salesforce and Hubspot - so that they can spend more time listening to the customer. A good salesperson knows that without listening, it is impossible to understand what their buyer is going through and what they need right now.

Ears to the sellers


  • They know who their audience is

Without knowing whom you are selling to, you really can’t close a deal. Good sales reps carefully build a buyer persona and keep all their prospect research only around it. They do not waste time in targeting a vast audience, most of whom might not even need your product. If at any stage of their research or call, they find that the prospect doesn’t meet their ideal customer profile, they disqualify the prospect and move to the next one.

  • They are goal-oriented

A salesperson’s goals are multifold and razor-sharp. Firstly, they consider their company’s goals as theirs. Next, they divide their own goals into the short-term and long-term. The short-term goal is usually ‘conversion’ that is tied to their incentives. The long-term goal is usually retaining their position as the top salesperson of the company.  Once a salesperson reaches the top, they won't like to step down from all the responsibilities and success that has surrounded them.

  • They love handling pressure

Living as a sales rep is not easy. But, the person who works as a salesperson alone knows the joy of it. A great salesperson loves the pressure and unpredictable situations that come along with their job. They love working in this environment with a long-term goal, passionately run every day, and pull out their best repeatedly to achieve that goal.

  • They wait for opportunities with hawk eyes
    Opportunities with hawk eyes

An average sales rep focuses mainly on converting an opportunity to a customer. But, a great salesperson not only focuses on conversion but also on identifying more opportunities. They seldom limit themselves, and can’t sleep unless they have identified one or two opportunities to focus the next day. They firmly believe in the motto - “opportunity everywhere."

  • They always deal above board

A good salesperson will never give false hope or make false promises. They know the value of building a relationship and consider it more important than selling something just for the sake of it. When spotted, a false promise will lead to the loss of not just one client but it can turn into a domino effect across your customer base. A successful salesperson will be honest in their intention and the strategy they follow. They will have 100% confidence in their product or service and focus only on helping the customer.

  • They know when to walk away

A good salesperson will know what a customer wants and when they want.  When a good sales rep finds out that their product or service won't resolve the buyer's problem - they will walk away without wasting any time. They know the value of time (both theirs and the prospect’s). And moreover, it will help them earn the goodwill of the prospect as they might end up referring them to others who actually need their product/service.

  • They don’t mind shedding blood, sweat, and tears

A seller's job is not easy, and it's not an eight-hour job. Whenever the client calls- the rep must pick it up, even if it is late at night or early in the morning. To become a good sales rep, you have to push yourself to the limits. You will be spending a lot of time outside your actual responsibilities such as researching the client and building relationships. You will be also constantly analyzing the client's possible objections, coming up with a new bag of tricks to turn that objection into an opportunity. In short, you will be constantly breathing - how to convert every lead into a customer.

  • They build networks
    Build Networks

Building a strong network is essential for both personal and professional life. A good sales rep won't look to clinch the business by being ‘salesy’. They will build a robust and long-lasting relationship with their clients. Even if the lead doesn’t show any intention to purchase, the sales rep will be in constant touch with the prospect. They will always try to expand their network by asking all their prospects, opportunities, and clients to refer them to their friends.

  • They always put their creative caps on

Managing pressure and handling a tough situation is crucial in a sales pitch. You never know when things can go downhill. A good sales rep will be awake all through the conversation to pull things back if anything goes wrong. They will think both critically and creatively to get on top of the situation. They have an innate ability to look at things differently and find opportunities to dive in and save the deal.

  • They constantly learn

Good sales reps need to prove that they are the best and know the A-Z of the client’s industry. They will constantly collect and gather news about the latest trend and new features in the client’s industry and business. They regularly upgrade their knowledge and skills by attending courses and training sessions related to sales. They also subscribe to various sales-related resources in the latest fields like AI, ML, etc. More importantly, they learn even on the move. For instance, Rafiki’s mobile apps make it easy for them to listen to snippets and constantly improve. While making a conversation, all their gained knowledge will prove to be an asset as they can give away valuable insights about other aspects of the client’s business as well.

  • At the end of the day, they sleep like a baby

The whole day, a sales rep would be running from one meeting to another and deal with multiple clients. A successful sales rep knows that they would wear out physically and mentally every day. They understand that good sleep can ease their mind, make them relaxed, and get rejuvenated for the next day. So, if you want to be a good salesperson, it is ultimately necessary to sleep at least eight hours a day as it will keep you out of anxiety, depression, and restlessness.

Good Sleep after Sales

  • They correct their mistakes through data-driven insights

We saved the best one for the last. A good sales rep will constantly analyze not only their own calls but also that of their colleagues. They use Rafiki to analyze call recordings and convert them into meaningful insights. The data generated and the corresponding insights help them create actionable steps for their continuous improvement.  Using Rafiki they can even share snippets or entire recordings to important stakeholders in the company and request their feedback.

What’s Next?

Now that you know how to be a better salesperson, it is time for some hard truth -Top-performing salesmen did not become successful overnight. It took years of toil and constant learning that brought them to where they are today. As a newbie salesperson, you can slowly start developing the above qualities one by one to emulate them in the coming days. 

But as a first step, you can start by subscribing to Rafiki as it will help you discover what works and what doesn’t to become the best salesperson in your company. Sign up for a free 14-day trial today. 

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