What Makes a Good Salesperson? Find Out If You’re Suited to Sales


Have you ever wished you had known something before you made a mistake? You probably are thinking that if you’re about to embark on a new career in sales. To be successful in sales, it’s important at the beginning of your sales journey to know what selling is and what it takes to do well in sales. If you don’t know anything about selling, you’re more likely to become frustrated, then and possibly fail.

Here are important questions you should know the answers to if you are just starting out in sales.

What is selling anyhow?

Too many salespeople start their sales career with some big misconceptions about what sales is. They think the objective is to get someone to do what they want them to do, and most of the time that involves buying something. Yes, successful salespeople end their sales process with a sale, but actually that’s not what the objective of selling is.

Selling is simply helping someone make a great buying decision. Sometimes you may help a customer buy your product or service. Other times you may decide that it’s not the best idea for the prospect to buy from you.

Successful salespeople are very clear about who would be an ideal prospect to buy their products or services. That means they are mostly recommending that prospects buy their product because it’s a great buying decision. There should be something that the product offers which will either reduce costs, avoid costs, or help prospects make money.

Poor salespeople don’t clearly define their ideal prospects—and that’s a big mistake. They waste time with prospects who shouldn’t be buying their products. They get frustrated from their failures, and mostly end up being unsuccessful salespeople.

What’s it going to take for me to be successful in sales?

Yes, there are a few key skills that salespeople need to be successful. However, there are misconceptions about what those skills should be. Some people new to sales think incorrectly that if they have the gift of gab they can talk anyone into buying anything. Yes, communication skills are important in sales, but talking isn’t what’s important—listening is much more important.

In selling, you need to hear not only what the prospect is saying, but what the prospect means. You need to read between the lines. Perhaps you’ll hear some doubt when the prospect speaks. If that’s the case, ask questions to uncover issues that the prospect may not realize they had. Also observe your prospects so you can build rapport. All of these skills are part of listening. Successful salespeople are great listeners.

Can I really do this?

All great salespeople have heard the word “no” from multiple prospects. For some salespeople, the fear of dealing with rejection paralyzes them. I worked with an inside salesperson who was great at leaving a confident voicemail message to a machine. Yet, he froze when the person answered his phone. It was as if the live person talking stunned him.

You have a choice: if the idea of rejection scares you, you either need to get over it or realize that sales isn’t for you. This is an especially important realization to have as you start a sales career. It’s better to figure out now whether you are suited for sales.

If someone tells you no, so what? What will happen to you? Yes, I realize you can’t earn a sales commission from a rejection, but it can be a time to learn something. Find better prospects. Hone your message. Ask better questions. Get more referrals. Look at the successes you have had and examine what worked. Get someone that you admire to work with you and critique what’s not working. And then do something different. You just might hear fewer nos.

Are you suited for a career in sales?

I do think that some people are more suited for sales than others. However, they make fewer mistakes when they begin their sales career. So why not do the same and make fewer mistakes as you start your sales journey?