7 Characteristics of the Most Successful Salespeople

Characteristics of Successful Salespeople

There are many interpretations of what sales success "looks" like. But what are the specific characteristics of the most successful salespeople? There are many. Do the characteristics of the most successful salespeople include:

  • Having an above-average closing ratio?
  • Consistently meeting or exceeding quota?
  • Make more contacts than are required?
  • Spending more time out in the field than most?
  • Prospecting more often and more persistently than other salespeople?

Absolutely. These are clearly the activities that the most successful salespeople do. That being said, there are other characteristics of the most successful salespeople that aren't necessarily numbers-related. They’re really behaviors that top performers exhibit that help them achieve their success. In most cases, it's hard to put an exact number on these success factors. Instead, it's up to sales managers to cultivate a culture in which these activities and promoted and supported.

7 Characteristics of the Most Successful Salespeople

Results Orientation

  • Maintaining focus on goals
  • Identifying and acting on removing potential obstacles to successful goal attainment
  • Implementing thorough, effective plans and applying appropriate resources to produce results
  • Following through on all commitments to achieve results

Influencing Others

  • Effectively impact prospects' and customers’ actions
  • Gaining commitment from others - internally and externally - to achieve desired results
  • Analyzing others’ opinions and leading them to understand and willingly accept desired alternatives
  • Persuading others in a positive manner


  • Independently pursuing sales objectives in an organized and efficient manner
  • Prioritizing activities as necessary in order to meet job responsibilities
  • Maintaining the required level of activity toward achieving goals without direct supervision
  • Minimizing work flow disruptions and time wasters to complete high quality work within a specified time frame

Goal Achievement

  • Establishing personal, sales-oriented goals that are relevant, realistic and attainable
  • Identifying and implementing required territory plans and milestones to achieve specific business goals
  • Initiating activity toward incremental sales goals without unnecessary delay
  • Staying on target to complete sales goals regardless of obstacles or difficult circumstances

Interpersonal Skills

  • Initiating and developing sales relationships in positive ways
  • Successfully working with a wide range of people at varying levels of the organization
  • Communicating with others in ways that are clear, considerate and understandable
  • Demonstrating ease in relating with a diverse range of people of varying backgrounds, ages, experience and education levels

Problem Solving Ability

  • Analyzing all data relative to a problem
  • Dividing complex issues into simpler components in order to achieve clarity
  • Selecting the best options available to solve specific problems
  • Applying all relevant resources to implement suitable solutions

Decision Making

  • Analyzing data necessary for decision-making
  • Making major decisions impacting strategic outcomes appropriately and effectively
  • Making decisions in a timely manner
  • Demonstrating an ability to make unpopular and difficult decisions when necessary

So. How do you make sure these are present in your team? Interview to them. Hire to them. Coach to them. And, if a salesperson can't meet them, give some serious thought to whether you need them on your team.

There are obviously more characteristics of the most successful salespeople. Things like high energy level, planfulness, discipline and commitment also come to mind. That said, in our experience, these personal skills (aka soft skills) are vital to sales success.  

Be sure you're bringing the right people onto your team with a whole person assessment. The Brooks Talent Index assessment measures 3 aspects of a person, giving you more visibility into how they'll perform on the job day in and day out. Learn more and request a free assessment here!


Lisa Rose

Lisa Rose is a Group Vice President of Sales at The Brooks Group. Lisa has passion for helping managers develop a unique, motivational sales culture in their organizations. She can drive sales managers who merely put out fires day to day to flourish as visionaries who can motivate their team and generate results for their sales organizations.

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