What are the personality traits that make a great salesperson?
That’s a commonly debated question.
Some people think that opinionated, type-A personalities make the best salespeople. Others assume that laid back, type-B personalities are the best.
And while the whole debate might seem silly, it’s actually a really important question to answer.
Because if you don’t know what gives a salesperson that extra edge… then you can’t strive to be a great salesperson and you certainly can’t consistently hire great salespeople.
At Call Porter, we hire a lot of top salespeople. And from my experience, there are three main qualities that every salesperson needs to have.
Here they are.
1. Exceptional Listener
If someone is a bad listener — especially during an interview — then they’re not going to be a very good salesperson.
And I’m not just talking about being quiet while you speak.
I’m talking about hearing what you have to say and responding in empathetic ways that make sense. They shouldn’t just hear you, but understand you… and show that understanding through their response.
That’s what it means to be an exceptional listener — to understand what people are saying, to read between the lines, and to respond in a way that empathizes with the other person.
Without this quality, salespeople will come off as self-absorbed and arrogant.
Oh — and the best way to find out is to spend a little extra time talking about yourself during the interview to see how they handle it. Do they listen and thoughtfully respond? Or do they keep cutting you off mid-sentence?
How they treat you is going to be how they treat your prospects.
2. Problem Solver
Motivated seller conversations are filled to the brim with problems, objections, and unexpected challenges.
Some sellers will have emotional ties to their home that are very difficult to overcome, some will want more money than their home is worth, and some will just be frustrated with their situation and difficult to talk to.
That’s why it’s so important to hire salespeople who are natural problem solvers — people who see a problem and instinctually start trying to find a solution.
When they hear people say, “The offer isn’t high enough” or “I’m not interested”, they shouldn’t think of that as a deal-breaker, but as an opportunity to learn more about the prospect, ask questions, and problem solve.
When your salesperson is a creative problem solver and you give them the authority to make reasonable decisions, you’d be surprised at how many more leads will start turning into deals.
Hiring people is a lot of work.
And the last thing you want to do is hire someone who’s great at what they do… but is only going to stick around for a few months.
Loyalty is important… and it’s worth paying for.
Which is why I recommend paying your salespeople generously (whether a flat rate or through commission), treating them with respect, and giving them the authority they deserve.
Let them make decisions that you’re comfortable with them making and allow them to try new things and be innovative in their approach.
The better you treat your salespeople, the longer they’re going to stay.
And trust me, the ones who stick around longest end up being the most valuable people on your team.