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If You Had These 30 Attributes, You Would Be the Best Salesperson in the World

10 min read
Updated Sep. 7, 2022
Published May. 8, 2019

Updated August 2022

Want a blueprint for how to become the best salesperson in the world? Or how about a yardstick by which to measure your leadership abilities? The good news is that you don’t need a career counselor or full 360 to get that additional insight.

All you need is to be self-aware.

Be honest with yourself about where you’re really strong and where you can struggle. It’s okay not to be great at everything! You can use it to become a better, more well-rounded sales professional. The ability to be self-aware is an invaluable skill that will serve you throughout your career.

Want to see how top-performing reps are getting it done? Download these data-backed best practices.

30 Attributes to Be the Best Salesperson

Tony Hughes explores the 30 best qualities to have in sales in his book, The Joshua Principle.  We’ve expanded on them below with 30 questions to ask yourself to self-assess.

1. Persistence

Do you keep on going in spite of opposition, obstacles, and discouragement?

Gaining traction in an account takes persistence. There’s a reason its listed first here – persistence is the main ingredient for sales success. Salesloft data shows that it takes at least 8 touches in a sales process to reach a prospect.

 

2. Honesty

Are you honorable in your principles, intentions, and actions?

The empathy-lacking, money-hungry stereotype of a salesperson doesn’t work in 2019. Buyers are looking for someone who will be a trustworthy partner and help them find a solution that addresses a particular pain point.

I try to always keep the buyer’s best interest at heart. Multithreading is vital in enterprise sales. As long as your intentions in meeting with other team members are genuine and you have credibility with your buyer, you should be able to execute on a thoughtful approach.” – Mandy Georgoff, Area Vice President, Salesloft 

3. Confidence

Do you believe in yourself?

They say dogs can smell fear. Well, prospects can smell a lack of confidence. Not to be confused with arrogance, confidence is a belief in your product and the value it can add to your buyer’s organization. The best salesperson in the world manages objections to transfer confidence to prospects.

4. Fun

Do you amuse your customers?

To laugh is to be human. Sales interactions shouldn’t be a bore. Show your personality. It’s okay to joke around. Meme culture is real and works perfectly in sales emails or on social media. Nudge, nudge: peep this article if you’re looking to up your social selling game.

sales attributes fun

5. Teachability

Are you continually learning?

Study after study shows us that lifelong learning is critical for success. It’s easy to fall into a routine and find yourself going through the motions. When that happens, do something to inspire growth – attend a conference (in-person or virtual), grab dinner with your mentor, or sit down with a customer to talk about what they’re seeing in the market. You’ll both be better for it.

6. Work Ethic

Do you believe in doing good, hard work?

A strong work ethic and the standards behind the work are necessary for long-term success. Sales is a funny profession – not many of us set out to be in sales. Even fewer of us went to school for it. Being the best salesperson requires sweat equity and sheer drive.

7. Passion

Is there zeal, eagerness, and gusto in what you do?

If you aren’t passionate about your solution and how it can benefit buyers, how can you expect them to get excited? Moreover, why would you want to sell a thing you don’t believe in? Tap into what turned you on to your company on day one, and transfer it to your prospects.

8. Team Player

Do you willingly work and cooperate with other sales reps and disciplines?

Being a team player ties into every other point on this list. When you work with your team, you are inspired to learn more, do more, and win more. It takes the right attitude, but choosing a sales engagement platform that powers your entire revenue team is also enormously helpful. 

9. Accountability

Do you own your decisions?

Sure, we all got tired of hearing about it growing up, but taking responsibility for your actions – accountability – is critical to any relationship. Accountability is good for your own development, your team dynamics, and for your customer relationships.

10. Friendly

Are you kind and helpful in every sales relationship and supportive of your team?

Let’s be real – part of sales is getting people to like you. Who would buy from someone they didn’t like? Who would help a teammate that was a jerk? People like friendly people. Be kind.

11. Discipline

Can you follow a routine and keep people on track?

One of the fun parts about sales is the freedom you have in your day. Don’t confuse that with a lack of discipline. Sales ebbs and flows, but with discipline (and a sales engagement platform), you can turn those ups and downs into consistent success. Keep your pipeline in view (and flowing), ensure your calendar is a click away, and follow up when you say you will to avoid end-of-quarter anxiety.

12. Optimism

Do you see the glass half-full?

It’s cliche, but there’s power in positive thinking. We even called out being “competitively optimistic” in a post on ways to be a successful account executive. In short, the best sales reps don’t win by giving energy to the thought that they might lose.

13. Empathy

Can you easily understand buyer’s situations and help solve their problems?

Don’t underestimate the role of empathy in finding the right solution for a prospect. Today’s buyers are more independent than ever but are willing to give time to sellers who are empathetic and informed about their business needs.

14. Competitive Spirit

Do you want to win?

Like sports, healthy competition motivates sales. Like an athlete, a seller’s drive to win results in success. 

According to Salesloft data, for larger deals ($75K+), top-performing reps sourced 21% more opportunities through their own efforts than average reps did. This statistic doesn’t speak to the quality of opportunities. Instead, it reveals that the best reps placed a priority on driving their own success, not simply waiting for opportunities to come to them.

15. Stability

Can you provide consistency to your team and customers?

Like a swimming duck is composed and steady on top of the water but paddling vigorously beneath the surface, so, too, should your customers see the part of you “above the water.” That consistent calm inspires confidence and trust.

duck paddling and calm

16. Energy

Is there pep in your step? And is that energy infectious?

Energy begets energy. Can you imagine watching a football game where the announcers weren’t hollering into their mics during a big play? It gets you fired up, too. Be the energy.

17. Vision

Can you visualize new strategies and create new opportunities?

Visualization is a real thing. Jim Carrey is a great example. Before he was famous, he was flat broke. One day, he wrote a $10 million check to himself for acting services rendered and dated it Thanksgiving 1995. Five years later, he earned $10 million making the movie “Dumb and Dumber.” That’s the power of visualizing success.

18. Leadership

Are you guiding your team or are you telling your team?

A big part of sales leadership is coaching reps to success. Adjust your coaching to the sales personalities of your team and dig into the data to find out why reps are over or under performing. Find out the metrics top sales leaders are tracking.

19. Maturity

Are you able to handle difficult situations with grace and composure?

Emotional maturity is an important part of what enables managers to become leaders. Maturity in the context of leadership is what allows managers to put their team ahead of themselves.

20. Sincerity

Do you mean what you say?

You can’t fake sincerity. Without sincerity and belief in your solution, there is no way to form trust during the sale process. Build lasting relationships by understanding your buyers and providing them with something they genuinely need.

21. Thorough

Do you have full command of your actions?

Don’t enter a meeting without having done your due diligence in advance. Being thorough demonstrates command of a subject, which inspires trust, helps you create value… and prevents mistakes.

22. Consistency

Can you deliver quality results over and over?

It’s too easy to focus on quantity at the expense of quality. Email personalization is a great example. It takes just a bit longer to personalize, but it’s worth it. Going from no email personalization to 25% in your “Day 1” email skyrockets reply rates to upwards of 300%. If you consistently deliver quality results, everyone – your customers, your leaders, and your teammates – will have confidence in your performance and reliability.

23. Listening Skills

Can you actively pay attention when others are speaking and respond to their needs appropriately?

There’s a world of difference between listening for your turn to speak and listening to understand. If you really listen, you can ask better, more insightful questions that demonstrate empathy and understanding.

Pretending to listen funny

24. Competence

Do you have the suitable skills necessary to adapt to a variety of scenarios?

Competence typically refers to the base-level skills required to do a job. It can also refer to competence in interacting with others. Does your attitude differentiate you as a leader?

25. Thoughtful

Do you show consider each of your potential buyers first?

Don’t fall into the trap of mindless action. Every buyer and every interaction is unique. Think about what they’re looking for and how you can personalize their experience. In a deal with a large buying committee, this can be a deal-breaker.

26. Experience

Are you wise and skillful in each buyer conversation?

Experience plays into every conversation. Buyers are looking to you for guidance. Your years of sales successes and challenges are wisdom. Share that with prospects.

27. Integrity

Are you principled?

Professional integrity is arguably the most important asset you can possess. It should inform every action you take if you are to have lasting success.

28. Committed Mindset

Are you constantly engaged and self-motivated to achieve your business and personal goals?

None of these traits on this list are possible without commitment. The best, more respected leaders in history committed themselves to behave in a way that demonstrates all of these qualities.

29. Enthusiasm

Are you eager to give it your all each day?

Get excited about what you are doing, how you can help buyers, and the opportunities ahead of you. Enthusiasm is contagious. It motivates people and expands ideas. Don’t curb it.

30. Engagement

Are you deeply involved in conversations and able to identify the implicit needs of your clients?

Engagement consists of the various interactions we have all day long. How engaged you are is up to you.


Nobody in the world can be all these things at all times, but the best mimic them more than everyone else. Where can you improve? What can you do to get to the next level in your career?

Write down the areas you excel in. Congrats! You’re awesome! Then, note the ones you need to improve upon most. Set a clear goal for each and seek help from a mentor or someone who demonstrates the quality in a way that you admire.

Also, check out this study about how top performing sales reps are getting it done.