A head-and-shoulders shot of a young woman wearing a headset with an extended mouthpiece. She holds one finger to the earpiece of the headset and speaks into the mouthpiece with a smile.
Being a sales rep requires a lot more than just making phone calls and reading from scripts. Skills like active listening and traits like resilience and tenacity are must-haves. — Getty Images/PeopleImages

Various personality traits and skill sets contribute to the success of salespeople. Knowing these qualities helps you hire the best sales representatives and nurture staff to achieve results to the best of their abilities.

While your incentive and commissions policies matter, undoubtedly, sales reps should feel a need to reach their goals. However, a competitive nature alone won't seal the deal. Discover eight in-demand qualities that make a great salesperson.

Demonstrate resilience and persistence

Refusing to give up and enduring difficult moments are key characteristics of excellent salespeople. In most industries, sales teams connect with leads multiple times before converting them to customers. In addition, being able to spring back after a challenging virtual sales call helps sales reps move onto the next lead quickly.

Possess multichannel communication skills

Increasingly, sales reps engage with leads over multiple channels. Face-to-face meetings differ from live chats or video conferences. Each format requires proper etiquette and, in some cases, a different sales approach. Pivoting from in-person to virtual sales is a learning curve for many reps as it involves written and verbal communication skills.

[Read more: Expert Advice: How to Expand Your E-Commerce Online Sales Channels]

Be tech-savvy or open to learning

Reps should feel comfortable with sales technology, whether that's using their cell phone to access mobile customer relationship management (CRM) programs or instant messaging platforms to engage leads. According to Deloitte, "38% of small businesses cited increased sales and revenue as a benefit associated with using digital tools, and "more than 40% use tools for sales management."

Understand how data drives sales activities

As data usage increases, many organizations are under pressure to skill up their staff. Gartner found that "sales reps are considered to have one of the worst data proficiency (43%) in the organization." The best salespeople don't have to be analytical whiz kids, but they should understand the value of data-driven insights and use those to achieve sales goals.

Here are the components of data literacy:

  • Understanding data sources and topics.
  • Comprehending analytical methods and applied techniques.
  • Being able to explain how data affects sales use cases.

Today's sales agents don't need to be lone wolves. Collaborative employees improve productivity and innovation.

Practice active listening

Your leads and prospects want to feel like your sales rep is doing more than reading from a script. Consequently, active listening is an in-demand skill for employees. Active listening is the process of hearing what a person says, including small nuances that hint at importance or sentiment. Your staff should repeat what was conveyed and follow up with a relevant question related to the conversation.

Capable of collaboration

Today's sales agents don't need to be lone wolves. Collaborative employees improve productivity and innovation. Additionally, sharing information between departments results in more precise records and customer journey maps. On the client's end, they appreciate when it feels like marketing, sales and customer service teams communicate.

A collaborative approach also improves cold calls. Gong reported that using terms like “we,” “our” and “us” more than individual terms such as “I” or “my” resulted in 35% to 55% higher success rates. Give your staff access to integrated software tools and encourage teamwork by setting individual and team sales goals.

Be receptive to coaching

Traditionally, the sales field was a dog-eat-dog environment. But working with teammates and admitting that you need help is critical in today's environment. The use of sales dashboards and other technology allows supervisors to review call details and use those insights to alter the sales rep's approach.

Yet your team members must be open to change and willing to adjust their tactics. Empower your agents by providing ongoing training and offering mentoring opportunities.

[Read more: 4 Expert Strategies for Training Your Sales Team]

Have extensive product or service knowledge

Sales reps must learn and retain information about your product and services, including issues that come up in online reviews or pertain to marketing campaigns. You can assume your leads have already consumed publicly available information about your brand in most industries. Successful sales reps can answer any follow-up questions and even refer leads to additional resources.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published March 15, 2022