Become A Great Salesperson: Must Have Skills And Book Recommendations

salesperson selling a car

A salesperson’s job is to convince people to buy what they’re selling. They accomplish this by using a variety of people skills. They tend to be great at reading the other person and at communicating why their product can help make the buyer’s life easier. Becoming a good salesperson takes time and practice, but it’s an invaluable life skill to have.

Key Takeaways

  • Different types of personalities will do best at different jobs. A salesperson will tend to be honest, objective-oriented, and have the ability to think on their feet.
  • Becoming a good salesperson has a lot to do with people skills and your ability to develop those. 
  • Figuring out what type of salesperson you are can help you narrow down what you need to improve upon.

What does a salesperson do?

Not to be confused with a Customer Service agent (although there are certain customer service skills needed for sales), a salesperson will do outbound contact to sell their product. This outbound process can be via in-person meetings, emails, phone calls, and even social media. It’s aimed at both warm leads and cold leads. 

A warm lead is someone that has shown interest in the product already, or that has interacted with the brand somehow and on a regular basis. A cold lead is basically someone who’s never heard of the brand or product and has shown no previous interest.   

So, essentially, a salesperson’s job is to find potential customers and convince them to buy what they’re selling. 

What are the 5 types of salespeople?

There are several types of salespeople out there. Basically as many personality types there are. The 5 we highlighted below, however, are the ones you most commonly see in our opinion.


Most of us don’t tend to love this kind of salesperson. That said, if you consider yourself particularly scatterbrained you might love having someone reminding you constantly that you need to make a choice. Some people even find the constant contact flattering since it makes them feel special to be top of mind. A good idea for this type of person is to try to actively listen to what your prospect is saying. No does mean no after all. 


This is the ideal salesperson for those leads that are very hot. Customers who already know they want to buy and just need someone to walk them through the process. These types of people will make themselves available to you but are unlikely to initiate contact. They’ll give you plenty of time to make a final choice, which is always great. Passive salespeople would do great if they learned a little assertiveness to target those customers that are still on the fence. 


These are the salespeople that choose a niche or product and spend years perfecting how to sell that. They know exactly the kind of customer who could use that service and have learned where to find them. They’re precise, efficient, and successful. They’re also expensive and don’t do as well when given a product they’re not familiar with. 


These are the types of salespeople you almost don’t mind encountering. Their main goal is to build a genuine relationship with you, so they’ll never push you to buy something just for the sake of it. You’ll find them at networking events, randomly when you’re living your life, or when you approach the brand for help. They’re trustworthy, warm, and charming people that feel more like a friend than a salesperson. The outcome? You end up wanting to give them your money.  


This type of salesperson is a mix of all the above. They can read the room and their leads to the point where they can tailor their technique to what will work best. They’re highly sought-after employees and can sell a variety of products and services confidently. They can sometimes be a little too confident in their readings of the client and what they need. So it’s important for this type of salesperson to allow themselves to be a bit more flexible at times.  

What personality types do best in sales?

In the same way some people do better with creative jobs and others do best with analytical ones, certain people are great at selling. In order to figure out if that’s you a good idea is to start by taking a personality test. 

The DISC assessment is a great option since it’s free, only takes a couple of minutes, and is geared towards your career personality. Working off that test, below are the personality types that do best in sales. 

  • Challenger – A perfectionist who loves a good challenge, the Challenger personality is high-energy and results-oriented. They’re also analytical and give 100% to any task assigned to them. 
  • Achiever – Inspirational, chatty, and super quick on their feet. The Achiever personality loves a good debate and healthy competition. They’re also boisterous and thrive when dealing with new challenges. Their secret is that they’re both kind and hard ballers when needed. 
  • Optimist – These people tend to be visionaries with motivational and inspiring personalities. Their confidence makes them influential while still being warm and inviting to people. They’re also eloquent in writing and verbally.  

What are 3 must-have sales skills to exceed all your sales targets?

Becoming a good salesperson is a collection of skills that takes time and practice to achieve. That said, below are 3 must-have skills that can help you exceed your next sales targets.

Follow up

While most salespeople are great at starting communication they’re not so good at following up. This will make sure you stay top of mind, and if gives you a chance to knock down any additional objections they might have. 

Measure, then repeat

One of the things people tend to disregard is that you should be keeping track of what’s working. Once you figure out a process that brings you the most results, put that on paper and repeat it. Then as you put it into effect make sure to keep tweaking it and adapting it. 

Be honest

This one should be a no-brainer, but never try to sell someone something you know they don’t need. It’s the best way to convey trust which in turn can keep your clients coming back for more. If you’re caught lying you risk losing not only your customer but potential future ones as well through bad reviews. 

The top 3 must-have books on selling

While there are hundreds of great books on how to sell out there, these three are absolute must-haves.

  • Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff – In this book, Klaff shares the pitching method that got him over $400 million dollars in investments over the past 13 years. The lessons he teaches can be used on anything from negotiating a higher pay to finding investors for your business.
  • Way Of The Wolf: Straightline Selling by Jodan Belfort – Yes, this is the same guy the movie The Wolf Of Wallstreet is based on. In this book he shares how to influence people in order to persuade them to do what you want them to.   
  • Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher – This is a great read if you’re looking to learn how to overcome objections. Learn how to cool down a conflict via a step-by-step proven technique.   

Related Readings

Getting People Right (GPR) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in entrepreneurial leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional GPR resources below will be useful:

Recommended Resources:

Uncover your strengths and weaknesses with our complimentary assessment. Boost your effectiveness at work and with your team.

Free Resource Library: Access our extensive collection of valuable resources for instant support in your personal and professional growth.

Explore Our Course Library:

Enhance your leadership skills with our diverse selection of courses. Take your abilities to the next level and become a more effective leader and team player.


Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.


Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.


Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.