Characteristics of Successful Salespeople

The willingness to learn is an important trait that lead to success (Richmond, 2012). Academic background is not enough to support the job in sales, the salesperson also has to know about the products or services information, skills in persuading or even negotiating (Johlke, 2006; Richmond, 2012). When the negotiation was made to provide both buyer and seller benefits, it created a business and also trust in buyer (Johlke, 2016). 

In my experience, I was taught to use cash register to help the cashier while taking turn for break. The willingness to learn enhances the customers’ shopping experience as the customers do not need to spend too much time in waiting for payments. Besides, being kind is also important (Flanagan, Malgady, & Grehan, 2011). The willingness to help creates a good relationship between the salesperson and customers (Boles, Barksdale, & Johnson, 1997). Besides, it brings repeat business to the salesperson (Boles et al., 1997). Assisting the customers can also help reducing their stress in some circumstances. In my experience, there was an old woman who lingering around the area where I worked at. After listening to her patiently, the old woman was being told and brought to the announcement area to find her old partner. The old woman showed a relief face with a smile after the incident. Furthermore, it helped to create a good image of the company in customers. 

Listening skills are the strength for people to form a relationship or connection of ideas with others (Richmond, 2012). Listening is the very first step to the success of selling (Comer & Drollinger, 2013; Johlke, 2006). The consumers like to see head nods and eye contacts from salesperson to assure their requirements or problems told is clear (Comer & Drollinger). As listening only requires 30% of brain usage, the other portions can be used to think of a solution to the problem (Richmond, 2012). After listening, the salesperson got to know the customer’s problems or requirements. Hence, the salesperson could recommend the products that gives the required functions (Comer & Drollinger, 2013). There was once a consumer who asking for fictions while I was arranging books. I stopped and listened to his request. In between, I used the time to figure out the fictions area. 

However, a bad listening skill can affect the relationship between the buyer and the seller because the solution given by the salesperson does not meet customer’s requirement (Comer & Drollinger, 2013). Hence, listening to the person patiently can also give the salesperson some time to think of the solutions (Leonard, n.d.). 2.Neuroticism is a fundamental trait that represents the degree of an individual perceiving negative emotions like stress, worries and fear (Flanagan, Malgady, & Grehan, 2011; Richmond, 2012). According to O’Connor & Paunonen (2007), neurotic people have higher levels of anxiety when they have fear in them (as cited in Flanagan, Malgady, & Grehan, 2011). While worrying if the sales quotas do not hit the target, the way the salesperson acts or talks can affect the consumers’ feelings adversely. Besides, worrying whether the prospect will reject the salesperson’s suggestion will not help the situation. 

Furthermore, it affects the passion of selling. Hence, the salespeople are advised to prepare to listen “no” from the prospect customers (Johlke, 2006). To improve myself in handling stress, worries and fear, I plan to write diaries which can help to release my stress and worries in a while. I will also buy more self-help books from different authors that can give me different insights in handling the negative thoughts. Being considerate is also important to ask for an order, a right question, and so to relate to wide range of people (Johlke, 2006; Richmond, 2012). When the salesperson knows how to relate the customers to a product or service, it will help the customers to identify that the products or services are actually needed in their life (Mallard, Dean, & College, n.d.; Richmond, 2012). When someone can relate to wide range of people, it creates the perception of this person and builds interests in the listeners (Richmond, 2012). Both of the listener and speaker share the same opinions and facts throughout the conversations. When they agree on each other, it creates the foundation of trusts (Richmond, 2012). 

In my experience, there was a customer requested for extra plastic bags to protect the goods. However, I did not think of the use of double plastic bags. The goods packed using the first plastic bag is being placed upside down in the second plastic bag. Luckily, the process was being corrected by the customers. To improve myself to think critically, I will need to read more articles, blog posts or elements that can improve my knowledge and so I can understand how they think. Furthermore, I will be placing myself in others positions to feel them and find out what the consumers need the most. Besides, being conscientiousness is also important because it related to self-control and determination (Flanagan, Malgady, & Grehan, 2011; Richmond, 2012). 

The one who has this personality trait is organized, hardworking, and to determine to achieve what he or she wants. I started to get exhausted when the crowds are getting bigger. According to Kemp, Borders & Ricks (2013), salespeople can get exhausted when there are supports from sales manager. When the determination is not that strong, it will make the salesperson to feel exhausted, lazy or even bored. To improve this, the advantages and the benefits that contribute to future achievements should always be reminded. Hence, the motto will be pasted at the place that is always visible. 


  1. Boles, J. S., Barksdale, H.C. & Johnson, J. T. (1997). Business relationships: An examination of the effects of buyer-salesperson relationships on customer retention and willingness to refer and recommend. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 12(3/4), 253 – 264. 
  2. Retrieved from
  3. Comer, L. B. & Drollinger, T. (2013). Salesperson’s listening ability as an antecedent to relationship selling. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 28(1), 50 – 59. 
  4. Retrieved from 
  5. Grehan, P. M., Flanagan, R., & Malgady, R. G. (2011). Successful graduate students: The roles of personality traits and emotional intelligence. Psychology In The Schools, 48(4), 317- 331. doi:10.1002/pits.20556 
  6. Johlke, M. C. (2006). Sales presentation skills and salesperson job performance. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 21(5), 311 – 319. Retrieved from
  7.  Kemp, E., Borders, A. L. & Ricks, J. M. (2013). Sales manager support: fostering emotional health in salespeople”,European Journal of Marketing, 47 (3/4), 635 – 654. 
  8. Retrieved from Leonard, I. (n.d.). The art of effective questioning: Asking the right question for desired result. Retrieved from Mallard, K. S., Dean, A. & College. G. (n.d.). Asking the right questions at the right time: A key role for effective academic leaders. 
  9. Retrieved from Richmond, K. (2012).The Power of Selling. [Flatworld Knowledge Inc.] Availablefrom
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