19 Underappreciated Traits Of Top Sales Professionals

Interview with Forbes Business Council

In the world of sales, success often hinges on more than just charm, knowledge and a knack for persuasion. While these commonly-sought attributes are beneficial, there are several other less-recognized traits and skills that make a sales hire an invaluable member of any team.

If you’re looking to improve your sales prospects, read on for insights from Forbes Business Council members. Below, 19 of them share underappreciated traits of top sales professionals, and why those attributes can be the key to a salesperson’s long-term value.

1. Mastery Of Google Sheets

In today’s competitive landscape, manual outbound sales efforts can be inefficient. We use Google Sheets for sales and marketing, enabling data-driven insights, enhancing outreach and saving time by extracting web data. Also, we prioritize Google Sheets mastery and make it a default course upon hiring for all employees to ensure it contributes to our overall sales success. – Alexander StorozhukPRNEWS.IO

2. Internal ‘Locus Of Control’

Our research revealed that someone’s “locus of control” is a strong predictor of performance. This measures whether individuals believe events are primarily influenced by their actions or by external factors. Concurrently, sales professionals with an internal locus of control take ownership of results, meaning they anticipate and overcome any barriers rather than blaming external factors when things go wrong – Richard BarkeyImparta Ltd.

3. Competitiveness

An underappreciated trait for a sales hire is how fierce of a competitor they are. If they played organized sports in high school or later, that’s a great sign. Aggression is also up there. – Michael MayesQuantum 9 Inc.

4. Project Management Skills

Project management skills and certification are important. We look for an understanding of Agile for organizing coherent and dynamic sales processes, time management, stakeholder management and communication skills. Accordingly, All of these are invaluable in a sales representative and will help drive consistently better results. – Nionila IvanovaIT Creative Labs

5. Understanding Of The ‘Long View’

The skill of perseverance is more than the ability to press forward despite the odds; it’s a willingness to delay success for the benefit of long-term growth. In a world where instant gratification still reigns, the “best” sales professionals are those who take the long view of their business. These are the ones who listen, cultivate close relationships and value connection as much as commission. – Mike VietriAmeriLife

6. Humor

I feel like humor is underrated when it comes to sales. It’s disarming, it’s fun and it allows people to put their guard down. Humor and blatant honesty are the perfect combination to get people to trust you. It’s a kind of “what you see is what you get” attitude, and people truly appreciate the no-nonsense approach. – Hoda MahmoodzadeganMolly’s Milk Truck

7. Experiential Acumen

In sales, the most underappreciated trait is experiential acumen—or simply put, experience. While qualifications and skills are routinely highlighted, there is no substitute for hands-on, situational knowledge from years of navigating the landscape of customer interactions. In a world increasingly reliant on technology, the human element of sales, fortified by experience, is an irreplaceable asset. – Blake PlumleyBluWater Capital LLC

8. The Ability To Assess Buyer Risk

Buyer risk assessment and mitigation are underappreciated traits. Great salespeople recognize when the three buyer risk behaviors (price risk, performance risk and psychosocial risk) are manifesting, and they execute strategies to defuse the risk-induced blockage. Once the blockage is cleared, a great salesperson will read the room and know when to ask for the business. – Tom NightingaleAFS Logistics

9. A ‘Customer Champion’ Mindset

Being a “champion of the customer” is key. A salesperson who places the customer’s needs at the forefront, above immediate company objectives or personal quotas, is a rare find. This championing approach deepens trust, bridging the connection between the customer, the salesperson and the organization. In the intricate dance of sales, trust is the linchpin for sustained and meaningful relationships. – Venkat ChitturiTechnoidentity

10. Resilience

Resilience is not appreciated enough. Sales is a field that involves a lot of rejection, setbacks and difficult customers. Being able to bounce back from these challenges, stay motivated and maintain a positive attitude helps salespeople persevere through tough times, learn from failures and continue working towards their goals. – Yasmin WalterKMD Books

11. Collaboration Skills

We generally look for “hunters” to hit quotas and drive revenue. I’ve personally witnessed incredible growth when a sales team is collaborating, sharing best practices and helping each other close. Individual revenue targets are still the expectation, but if a sales hire has that collaborative, leadership quality, it’s beyond just one strong hire as you’re lifting up the whole team. – Dave RegnStream Companies

12. The Ability To Prioritize Client Needs

Salespeople should have a willingness to act against instinct, like suggesting something that costs less but ultimately helps a client better accomplish their goals. It’s easy to tell people what they want to hear—but that doesn’t serve long-term needs or establish you as an insightful partner. When a seller centers a client’s needs versus their own, it shows that they care about the client’s success. – Andee HarrisChallenger

13. The Ability To Reflect

An often undervalued trait is the ability to reflect and wait patiently. Generally speaking, sales tend to require only the ability to act before thinking. However, in order to take advantage of that power of action, they need a stance that allows them to calmly look at their sales strategy and wait for customers. – Karita TakahisaUNIFY PLATFORM AG

14. Generous Listening Skills

Generous listening is by far the most unrated yet valuable competence for a sales role. The client knows we “get” the situation by reiterating what we understood and creating solutions from there. Clients no longer want to be “sold.” They are looking to be heard and understood. When we don’t “get” the issue and root cause, we not only cannot create systemic solutions, but we also lose credibility. – Susan Leger FerraroPeace, Love, Happiness Real Estate

15. Knowledgeable About Products

A salesperson should have impeccable knowledge about the product. When they represent the product, it shouldn’t sound like they are selling something. It should be like they are communicating the value more than the product and educating clients on industry insights. This kind of magic is only possible when they have a great understanding of the product or business. – Raj MaddulaGlobal Squirrels

16. Problem-Solving Skills

Being a problem-solver in every sense is critical. Externally, a great salesperson knows that they are solving a prospect’s problems with the solution your company offers. Internally, that salesperson may also face operational challenges as your company grows. For example, this could be not having a proper contract execution process. When facing problems, an excellent salesperson will present solutions to help scale. – Maurice HararyThe Bid Lab

17. Cultural Intelligence

One often underappreciated trait in a sales hire is cultural intelligence. Given our international remote team and diverse clientele in property management, having salespeople who understand and respect various cultures enhances client relations. This trait fosters trust, leading to more successful deals and stronger long-term partnerships. This skill goes beyond traditional sales techniques. – Johan HajjiUpperKey

18. Adaptability

Adaptability is overlooked in sales hires, but it’s a game-changer. Imagine your company pivots its product line. An adaptable salesperson doesn’t panic; instead, they learn the new products and own the change. Adaptability isn’t just nice to have, it’s essential. So, when hiring for sales, look beyond the smooth talkers to find those who can adapt—they’re the real MVPs. – Pedro BarboglioRemote Team Solutions

19. Growth Orientation

The value of an employee, especially in sales, is more than just doing the current job. As the company needs to scale, you want the person to want to increase their level of contribution to the company. That means they also have to be personally growth-oriented, curious about the company’s growth direction and willing to advocate for the opportunities for the company as a whole. – Jerry CahnAge Brilliantly

Forbes Business Council Article Link: 19 Underappreciated Traits Of Top Sales Professionals