Born to Sell: What Makes A Successful Sales Personality?

How do you rank above your competition if you have the same education, willingness, and resources provided to you as every other sales representative applicant?

The answer is simple: your personality. There are specific characteristics and personal traits that sales directors consider when hiring their next sales representative.

Although many entry-level sales employees learn most of their techniques from their authorities, the most successful ones are those with the natural skill to sell a product, idea or even lifestyle.

Steve W. Martin, a professor at the University of Southern California, did an in-depth study of over 1,000 salespeople and their most successful personality traits. He came up with seven identifying characteristics that separated the elite sales professionals from their average or subpar team members. Achievers who are extremely competitive, modest and able to take rejection are linked to be a successful in the sales industry. In the world of highly competitive online marketing agencies, a person with these sales traits fuels the excitement behind past, present, and future projects.

Related Article: Born to Sell: Do You Have Sales Personality?

The top traits of a sales representative are:

Trust & Transparency

The number one trait buyers are looking for in sales representatives is the ability to trust that their offers are true to their meaning, not exaggerated or hopeful insights. The more honest a salesperson is with their buyer about options and opportunities, the more likely a potential buyer will turn into a recurring client and a great referral.


Relationship building is a huge trait that is a must in this profession, but if a salesperson values the relationship more than the business efforts, it can become difficult to speak frankly with their client. In order to keep a business mentality, top salespeople refrain from making close relationships.

Achievement Orientation

Success comes from carefully choosing the most promising person to accept your pitch and making the product or service relative to the company as a whole, instead of focusing on the actual function.

High Emotional Intelligence

Top salespeople do not allow the buyer to conduct the direction of business. These people are in control of the sale outcome and ultimately create their own destiny. They are able to predict what the buyer may ultimately want and influence their thought process to fit the needs of both companies. Knowing the way certain kinds of people behave or respond to situations allows a salesperson to direct the outcome.

Tough Skin and Optimism

Possibly a more obvious trait is the ability to keep your head up after rejection. Top salespeople are extremely competitive and do not let losses affect their next sales approach.

As a starting point, these basic personality traits are a must, but in order to successfully become a top salesperson, your entire lifestyle must embody the world of sales. The Myers-Briggs Personality Test is widely used by hiring specialists and executives looking for the likelihood of ultimate success in applicants and employees.

A series of situational questions are asked based on how you interact with the world, how you absorb information, decision-making skills, and organization. Each category has two representations, ending with a definition of a person based on four main characteristics.

According to Paul Tieger, co-author of “Do What You Are,” the best Myers-Briggs personality combination for those looking to enter the sales industry is E-S-F-J.

ESFJ – the Sales Representative

Generally known as gregarious traditionalists motivated to help others. Although Martin suggests keeping client relationships at arm’s length, possessing the ability to befriend anyone around you can be used in moderation towards authorities and co-workers to advance your career at entry-level. Employers are looking for eager entry-level candidates who have a natural ability to sell and a willingness to learn new techniques for success.

  1. Extroverts – Energized by people, enjoy multiple tasks, quick-paced
  2. Sensors – Realistic people, focused on facts and details, apply common sense and past experience to come up with practical solutions
  3. Feelers – Sensitive and cooperative, make decisions based on personal values and impact on others
  4. Judgers – Organized, prepared, stick to plans, comfortable following most rules

Related Article: The 5 Types of Sales Beasts & How to Spot Them in the Wild

If these are defining characteristics of your behavior, you should consider a career in sales. In such a diverse industry, the only anchor a salesperson has is their self-worth and determination. Knowing you have the key traits to be a successful sales representative should give you the courage to apply for that sales representative position you’ve been considering.

Get in tune with the depths of your personality and discover if you have what it takes to be the perfect sales representative. When that long, interrogating interview roles around, you can prove to them that you are the best applicant for the job.

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