It's NOT the "Gift of the Gab"

A LOVE OF PEOPLE is the most important strength, as selling is a people-to-people profession. If you tend to dwell on the weaknesses and irritating traits of others, chances are you'll not like selling nor will you be good at it. If you tend to look at the good side of people, you might be a good candidate for a sales career.

THINKING INDEPENDENTLY, or having a mind of your own, is a characteristic found in most successful salespeople. The essence of a good sales transaction is finding customers' needs and supporting them with solutions from your offering of products or services. If you're can't stay on track, you likely won't be able to consistently consummate the deal.

BEING ABLE TO ORGANIZE is not optional, it's a requirement. Salespeople deal with changes every day - their products or services, the customers, the economy, market trends, and everything else right down to the weather! If you can't organize yourself to make sense of it all, you'll drown in a sea of confusion.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS are near the top of the list too. Salespeople communicate with other people all the time – customers, other people who could influence a sale, various specialists within their own companies, and lots of other folks. If you can't communicate clearly and effectively, you're dead in the water. It is worth noting that verbal communication involves two skills: Listening and Talking, in that order. The best salespeople are great listeners.

HONESTY may be something that you don't often think about, but the honest salesperson is the one who can establish lasting and profitable relationships with buyers. If you tend to “stretch the truth” or make false claims about what your products or services are all about, you'll eventually be blacklisted by smart buyers and that will seal your fate as an unsuccessful salesperson.

A LOVE OF CHANGE helps most salespeople to succeed. Selling is generally not a routine proposition as you need to conform to the ever-changing requirements of your customers. This calls for a very flexible working style. If you are the type of person who thrives on a 9 to 5 schedule, you likely shouldn't consider a non-retail sales career.

COURAGE is a great asset for a salesperson. Facing the risks of rejection and failure - and having your results out in the open for everyone to see - takes guts. No room for low self-confidence here.

KNOWING THE NUMBERS is key to many successful sales. You must be able to understand the financial side of a sales transaction in order to show the customer the benefits of spending their money on your product or service. Any good industrial commercial or industrial salesperson can calculate a simple ROI on anything, because they make it their business to understand the numbers.

KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD. When you're dealing with a wide variety of customers, you'll have to present yourself as “sharp.” Nobody wants to deal with anyone uninformed, so it's critical to scan the headlines each morning and know what's going on out there that might affect your customers' situations.

HYGIENE AND APPEARANCE. Nobody wants to deal with a slob, so keep yourself clean, neatly dressed, and don't even think of displaying tattoos or face hardware (unless of course you're going to be selling tattoos, face hardware, or something similar!). “Making an extreme fashion statement” really has no place in professional sales. Nobody ever lost a sale because they presented a clean, professional image of themselves and their company.

A person who pays attention to these 10 points should be able to absorb and apply the other skills – such as sales techniques, product and technical knowledge – necessary to become a valuable, successful, and happy performer in the wonderful world of PROFESSIONAL SALES.