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What Are the Most Important Qualities of a Salesperson?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The best qualities of a salesperson can include communication skills, friendliness, flexibility, and the ability to adapt readily to changing situations. Employers interested in hiring sales representatives pay close attention to how people present themselves when dropping off application materials and taking part in interviews to determine if they will be a good fit. For certain jobs, advanced knowledge and skills are also necessary; someone who handles insurance products, for example, needs to be familiar with the industry to offer the best services.

Strong communication skills are among the most important qualities of a salesperson. This includes the ability to connect with coworkers as well as customers, and to adapt to people who may have varying communication styles. Some people, for example, like humorous, laid-back salespeople who set them at ease, while others may prefer a more professional approach. Being multilingual can help in some industries and in regions where the population may speak more than one language.

Friendliness and approachability are also useful traits. Salespeople should have a neat, pleasant appearance that projects confidence and willingness to help so customers feel comfortable approaching them to ask questions and get assistance. Another of the qualities of a salesperson is the ability to move smoothly between transactions, help multiple customers at once, and not take rejections or harsh comments personally. A salesperson who carries irritation through the day can become less friendly, which can put customers off.

Drive and focus are also important, although hard selling is not widely used in many industries. The salesperson should be focused, well-informed, and enthusiastic without being overly pushy; the ability to step back and give customers time to think can be an important entry in the qualities of a salesperson. Thorough knowledge not just of a company’s products and services but also those of competition is useful, so the salesperson can provide accurate and helpful information for people with questions and concerns.

Direct experience is often the best way to cultivate the qualities of a salesperson. With mentoring from supervisors and experience in sales environments, people can hone communication skills and develop their abilities. Training courses are also available to provide specific tips and tricks, but they may not make up for experience on the sales floor with actual customers in high pressure situations. Individual companies may also provide a short training orientation to new hires so they’re familiar with company policies, including those pertaining to appropriate behavior for salespeople.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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