Everyone has an opinion on what makes a good salesperson, some might say they, have the ‘gift of the gab’, are extroverted, know how to do the ‘hard sell’


While others believe that a good sales person, builds trust with their prospects, listens more than they speak and adopts a needs based approach to their sales process.


For me I am in the latter camp.


But I decided to ask some local business influencers their thoughts -


  • what makes a great salesperson

  • what they look for when hiring a new salesperson

  • and what would make them want to buy


Here’s what they said -

“Genuine interest in the client, understands what is important to the client, takes a long term view not just here and now, asks lots of questions”


“Honesty, talks at same level – plain English or explains without jargon! Knows their stuff – solution proposed makes sense, is likeable”


  • Mandy Cartwright, Director, Grow HR



“A good account manager/sales person will be organised, honest, reliable, hungry for knowledge and a good listener.”


  • Duncan Wallace, Managing Director, Hawkes Bay Technologies


"The salesperson must be enthusiastic about their product/service and genuinely believe that what they are selling is a good solution for the client.

I look for someone who enjoys being around people, has integrity and is goal orientated".


and what makes you want to buy from someone?


"The above, but also instills confidence in the purchase because they are trustworthy".


-Rachel Bashnik, Associate Partner, Business Advisory, FINDEX



“Someone who listens, empathy for others, perseverance in their work and the tenacity to find a way. Someone who provides a solution to my problem”


  • Chris Mclean. Director, No9 and Printing.com




“From a consumer perspective, Listens to what I am saying Can understand what outcome I’m looking for, be able to suggest other solutions that I might not have thought about, is interested and has a ‘can do’ attitude…

When you say ‘salesperson’ I wonder, are you putting people in a group that might work to your detriment – i.e. I’m a plumber, not a sales person so this isn’t relevant to me – but we all know the plumber needs to ‘sell’

Say salesperson & I think of someone in a car, folder, visiting clients/new clients

If I think of business, they all need a sales function – converting new leads, or attending to enquiries…..

If I think from a business advisor perspective – best people around sales are, all of the above & structured”


  • John Hutchinson, Director, Plan A Consulting


I’ve tended to look at the person and their personal values based more on the bottom list (ie Genuine, Honest, Open, Trustworthy) as traits that will be successful rather than ‘traditional’ sales traits which may be a reflection on our type of business as it’s very much relationship based. But initially, first impressions. Do I like them? For two reasons – I’ve got to manage them and work with them, and I don’t want to work with someone I don’t like. And they’ve got to be liked by customers and fellow staff - how will they fit in the greater team is so important – will they fit in?


‘Attitude’ over ‘skill’ is significant – if an individual has all the skills but a poor attitude, that’s far harder to address and manage vs someone with great attitude but limited skills, as they can be trained (and will be willing to be trained) to build the required skills.  


What makes me buy from someone? Trust. All the ‘good person’ traits are important but if I don’t trust the person, I wouldn’t purchase from them. Trust to me means they have my interests at heart, they’re prepared to offer their thoughts based on my needs and requirements, and work to ensure they’re met. Brett can give you the story I shared of my father’s experience in buying farm insurance – he had been using a broker but didn’t feel they had his interest at heart, and is actually paying more for insurance from a person he trusts! Amazing really.


  • Garry Watt, General Manager, Commercial, NORWOOD





“They respect your time, they want to help you, not sell to you, they make the sale process easy”


  • Gareth Dobson, Company Director, FINSOL 


“Brett recommended a book to me a few years ago called the Luck Factor. It was a good book, and the basics of it were that luck isn't just something that happens, luck is something you create. The kinda people that create heaps of luck are people who are always creating opportunities for luck to happen. That might be someone who


  • Starts conversations with people on the plane

  • or is really good at networking events at asking solid questions and looking genuinely interested in someone

  • or just someone who generally goes out of their way to make interactions with different people happen.


Those people tend to be quite lucky people, and that's probs what I would look for in a salesperson the rest can be taught, but that is something probs more intrinsic I'd say…..


Oh and also having a good solid EQ, someone who can understand a situation and relate to people in my mind these days is wayyyy more likely to get a sale across long term than someone who comes into a situation and bulldozes through pressuring people to buy.


And I think the times when I've been genuinely swayed by a salesperson is when it feels like they actually understand me and my company, and like they care. You can sniff out someone who feels like they're just trying to make a sale pretty quick and that generally turns me onto the defensive pretty quick”.


  • Dan Browne, Director, Indelible



“Understanding your product/service first and understanding the prospects challenges a very close second.”.


  • Jason Juno, Director, Coast & Co


 So what do you think makes a good salesperson?


Something to consider when moving into a new sales role.


Or if you are new to sales, some key things to take into consideration.


Leave your comments below I would love to hear from you-


  • What do you think makes a good salesperson?

  • What makes you want to buy from someone?



P.S. A massive thank you to everyone who took the time to give their opinion, it is most appreciated!


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