Two Essential Traits of an Effective Sales Professional

An outstanding sales professional should have several qualities, but there are two essential ones needed to having a successful career in sales.

This one particular combination of traits is critical to success and has nothing to do with product knowledge, experience, intelligence or any other skill set.

It’s a healthy balance of ego and empathy — a must to being an effective sales professional.


Need for Balance 

Empathy is the ability and capacity to understand and share the feeling and opinion of another person. You must understand their point of view, but not necessarily agree with it.

Ego relates to a person’s self-esteem and the importance of one’s self. In sales, it is the characteristic that drives us and allows us to overcome setbacks and objections. Ego allows you to push forward.

A salesperson with not enough empathy can’t relate to their client’s real problems and tend to struggle building key relationships. A salesperson with too much empathy is often liked, but respected less and relate too much to the problems they are there to solve.

Having too much ego can be perceived as a bad personality trait and viewed as arrogant. It can come off that you are more worried about a sale instead of the client’s needs. Not having enough ego shows a lack of confidence to go out of your comfort zone and develop difficult relationships. For example, receiving a “No!” right off the bat and taking it personally is a trait of a sales professional, who has too little of an ego.

This special balance between ego and empathy must be found and nurtured.

The sales professional with just the right amount of empathy and ego allows for them to hone in on the target effectively and make the sale. This type of person has the drive needed to actually make the sale, and the empathy gives this person the connecting tool to complete it.