How To Be a Good Salesperson: Learn How In 5 Easy Steps

1 min read
How To Be a Good Salesperson: The Key Aspects of Persuasion

Sales is one of the most important ingredients in a business’s success. But what makes sales so important?

First and foremost, sales are what drive revenue generation. Simply put, without an effective sales funnel, your company won’t make any money. But, when you have a great team of salespeople turning leads into customers, your business is sure to thrive.

The quality of a business’s sales strategy also plays a major part in determining its profit margins. Not only are salespeople responsible for convincing prospects to buy, but in many industries, they’re also responsible for closing at the right price.

Perhaps even more importantly, a customer’s sales representative is often their main point of contact with the business. This means that salespeople are on the front lines when it comes to keeping customers happy and fostering lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

What Makes a Good Salesperson?

Some of the most important traits for salespeople include great communication skills, a strong sense of empathy, and a healthy dose of resilience. If you want to develop better salesperson skills for yourself, use these simple goals to guide your progress:

  1. Understand your product or service
  2. Build rapport with customers
  3. Learn sales techniques
  4. Use the power of follow-up
  5. Learn adaptability and resilience

Examples of Good Salespeople

First, let’s look at a few examples of successful entrepreneurs who exemplify the qualities of a good salesperson:

1. Roy Chung (Co-founder -

Roy Chung is an entrepreneur and SaaS expert with a wide range of sales experience. He co-founded the $1.6 billion sales automation startup and is currently a general partner at the VC firm JoyFund. He previously worked as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Co. and has successfully taken two different startups through the Y COmbinator accelerator program.

2. Sascha Eder (Founder and CEO - NewtonX)

Sascha Eder is the founder and CEO of the B2B enterprise research startup NewtonX, which raised over $40 million in venture capital. He also spent time as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group, and as a financial analyst at P&G.

3. Liz Tsai (Founder and CEO - HiOperator)

Liz Tsai is the founder and CEO of the customer-service-as-a-solution startup HiOperator, which uses AI to help companies streamline their customer service ticketing. Previously, she spent several years honing her sales-led growth skills in the physical commodities trading industry in Geneva and Singapore.

How Can I Improve My Salesman Skills?

Ready to find out how to learn sales? Let’s explore each of these 5 objectives in detail.

Step 1: Understand Your Product or Service

Extensive product knowledge is not merely beneficial for salespeople — it's absolutely crucial. Before you do anything else, learn everything you can about your product (or service) and the target audience to whom you will be selling.

In-Depth Product Knowledge

Your credibility is one of your most vital tools as a salesperson. The customer needs to see that you’re confident in your product knowledge because they are far more likely to buy from someone who they perceive to be an expert.

In-depth product knowledge also makes it easier for you to communicate your product's features and benefits to the customer — the more facts you know about the product, the more ammo you have. For example, you never know when you might need to explain to a prospect how a specific feature works in detail or why the product is superior to a particular competitor’s.

Unique Selling Points

When you know your product, you can point out to customers what sets it apart from similar products before they even ask. If they do express interest in a competitor’s product over yours, you’ll be ready to explain exactly what they would be missing out on by switching.

Every product has unique features that cater to specific customer needs. Likewise, every customer has unique priorities in mind during the decision-making process. By learning about both your product’s features and your customers’ needs and aligning the two in your sales pitch, you can enhance the customer experience and increase the likelihood of making the sale at the same time.

Answering Questions

Objections and questions are inevitable parts of the sales process — no matter how good the salesperson is. A well-informed salesperson is better equipped to answer questions and handle objections with grace, or even anticipate them.

Keep in mind that product knowledge is not static. Your knowledge of the products or services you sell should evolve alongside the products or services themselves. Even after you’ve learned all there is to know about the product, make sure you continue to keep yourself informed about the most recent changes — having out-of-date information is usually no better than having no information at all!

Step 2: Build a Rapport with Customers

Building rapport is a fundamental skill for any salesperson. When you have an authentic connection with the customer, it not only increases their odds of buying but also improves their perception of your brand — which can have a far-reaching impact beyond the single sales interaction. 90% of customers say a brand’s authenticity is important to them when they’re deciding who to buy from.

Active Listening

The most important skill for building rapport with customers is active listening. Active listening is more than just hearing — it requires genuine engagement with the customer's concerns. 

When listening actively, body language is a very important part of showing the customer that you’re giving them your full attention. Maintain eye contact and use appropriate cues like nodding or saying “I understand” to demonstrate that you’re listening. However, wait to ask follow-up questions until the customer has fully finished telling you about their needs.

Effective Communication

Solid communication skills are also a must for building rapport with customers. Effective sales communication is not about just showcasing your knowledge but also conveying to the customer your commitment to helping them find the best solution. By using active listening skills to learn about the customers’ needs and then offering the customer tailored solutions that align with those needs, you can begin to solidify their trust.

Asking open-ended questions is a great way to encourage customers to share more about their needs. Instead of simply asking yes-or-no questions, inquire about their goals and challenges. Open-ended questions not only help you gather valuable information but also show the customer that you’re genuinely interested in their needs.


Every salesperson should strive to see the sales process from the customer's perspective. Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes ensures the customer feels respected throughout the negotiation — not to mention it gives you added insight into their thought process. 

One way to incorporate more empathy into your sales strategy is to paraphrase what customers have said so they know you understand. For instance, if a customer tells you they have concerns about a particular product feature, you could begin your rebuttal with something like: “I’m hearing you say that you’re not so sure about this particular feature, and I understand your concerns.” The customer is much more likely to be receptive to your efforts to change their mind after you’ve made them feel heard.

Step 3: Learn Sales Techniques

There are many different techniques good salespeople rely on. Three of the most important sales techniques to master are establishing trust, handling objections, and closing the deal.

Building Trust

Trust is the bedrock that every successful sale is based upon. To establish trust with your customers, approach the entire sales process — from prospecting to closing — with openness and honesty. Good salespeople are persuasive; they never lie to get a sale. Speak transparently about your product’s features and benefits, as well as its limitations, and engage in a productive discussion with the prospect about how your product could address their key pain points.

Customers want to know they can trust your business, but they also want to know that you know what you’re talking about. Make sure your customers have plenty of opportunities to see positive reviews, successful case studies, or other evidence that your business is a credible and respected player in the market.

Handling Objections

Objections are a natural part of the sales process. Instead of trying to avoid them, embrace them as opportunities to clarify the merits of your product. 

Start by listening carefully to the customer’s objections and acknowledging them respectfully. Then, ask probing questions to dig deeper into each objection. Understanding the root cause of the customer’s concern will help you come up with a convincing solution. This is a great time to incorporate evidence like case studies or testimonials into the sales process.

To combat price objections, focus on highlighting the exceptional value your product or service delivers. However, remain aware that customers sometimes use price objections as a smokescreen for deeper concerns. Again, digging further to uncover the underlying cause of the customer’s objection is essential.

Throughout the whole process of navigating customer objections, maintain a positive and solution-oriented attitude. This helps to put the customer at ease by showing them that you value their concerns and are committed to finding a mutually beneficial solution.

Closing Deals

All your hard work during the sales journey culminates in the close. This is the point in the process when you get the customer to commit to a firm “yes” or “no.” It’s one of the most delicate steps in the process, and an area where many salespeople struggle.

One strategy for closing more effectively is to sprinkle trial closes throughout the sales journey to gauge the customer's readiness. Trial closes are questions that encourage the customer to make small, incremental commitments — questions like: "would you like to move forward with this option?" or "when do you think you’d like to get started?"

When you sense the customer is ready to make a decision, ask for the sale directly. A popular closing technique that works for many salespeople is to use assumptive language, such as: "shall I go ahead and prepare the contract?" or "would you prefer the silver or gold package?" It’s crucial to exude confidence and clarity with every statement you make during the closing phase.

Step 4: Use the Power of Follow-Up

The sales process doesn’t end when you close. Following up with customers is just as important for success in sales.

Maintaining Relationships

Once a customer has made their first purchase, your goal becomes retention. That means you need to switch your focus to doing whatever you can to maintain the relationship with the customer.

You should have already laid the groundwork for a positive customer relationship during the sales process. However, you can keep this relationship alive and well by reaching out after the sake to make sure the customer is satisfied with their purchase and to find out if they have any questions or concerns. Make sure you send personalized messages for maximum impact.

Upselling and Cross-selling

Not only does following up with customers preserve valuable relationships — it also helps you add even more value by creating opportunities for upsells and cross-sells. Once you’ve established trust with the customer via the initial sales journey, you can then introduce them to complementary products or services based on their ongoing needs.

Seeking Referrals

Satisfied customers are also one of the best sources of new customers. After you follow up with the customer and address any new questions or needs they may have, ask them if they’d be willing to recommend your services to others. Share the types of clients you’re best suited to benefit and find out if the customer has anyone in their network like that who could use your services. If you’ve done your job right, many customers will be excited to tell their friends or colleagues about your product.

Step 5: Learn Adaptability and Resilience

For salespeople everywhere, rejection comes with the territory. If you’re going to succeed in sales, it’s essential to develop a thick skin and learn how to adapt to obstacles quickly.

Handling Rejection

Every salesperson faces rejection — sometimes a lot of it. Instead of taking it personally, view each “no” as an opportunity to learn. Analyze what went wrong during the sales process and make a plan to improve it next time. Maintaining a positive mindset and viewing every setback as another stepping stone toward your sales goals can help you keep your momentum. Many salespeople find it helpful to ask a friend or trusted mentor to run through “mock rejections” for practice.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

Sales and a growth mindset go hand in hand. The best salespeople commit themselves to ongoing learning. They stay updated on industry trends, read books written by sales leaders, explore viable technology solutions (like HubSpot’s sales CRM), and continually search for fresh online resources to help them expand or hone their sales skills. By striving for continuous improvement, you can not only adapt to changing customer needs but also become a more valuable asset at your business.

Staying Motivated

For even the most experienced salespeople, constant rejection is draining. Every salesperson goes through periods of struggling to find their motivation. To keep yourself motivated, set clear sales goals for yourself and break them down into small, achievable milestones. Develop a network of coworkers who you can turn to for support, and don’t forget to celebrate with them when you hit your sales quota.

While salespeople need a strong work ethic to succeed, they also need to take time for themselves now and then or they’ll burn out (just like everyone). Try to spend a healthy amount of time away from work pursuing your hobbies or enjoying time with loved ones.

Start Your Journey Toward Sales Success Alongside an Expert

Mastering the art and science of sales requires a diverse skill set. Not only do you need to be an excellent communicator, but you also need to be empathetic, adaptable, and driven to learn. By spending time honing these skills, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to sell like a pro.

If you’re still not sure where to begin, consider getting advice directly from a sales expert. Just a short, one-on-one conversation can yield sales insights you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

Get 1:1 advice from expert entrepreneurs

Daniel A. Chen

Daniel A. Chen

Head of BD - Brightside
Wharton MBA

Simple Things

Daniel Chen is the Head of Business Development at Brightside, a financial care solution that helps working families improve their financial health. He started his career as a Senior Auditor at KPMG Canada, then moved on to work as an Assistant Controller at eBay before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey with Lightside Games and Levanto Financial. Prior to joining Brightside, Daniel served as Quicken's Head of Business Development, where he oversaw partnerships and launched new businesses. In addition to this, he has an MBA from Wharton Business School and is a certified public accountant.

Wharton MBA
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Michael Litt

Michael Litt

Co-Founder & CEO - Vidyard
GTM & Generative AI Expert

Y Combinator

Michael Litt has established a notable presence in the business world as a Founder, CEO, and Investor. He successfully raised $85 million in funding for Vidyard while leading a team with over 300 members. His dedication to Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies and sales technology is reflected in the numerous Generative AI products developed at Vidyard. In addition to his role at Vidyard, Michael also serves as an investor at Garage Capital, a firm that has backed more than 150 companies, with 12 of them achieving valuations surpassing $1 billion.

CEO Vidyard
Raised $85M
Partner Garage Capital
Y Combinator
Angel Investor
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Robin Daniels

Robin Daniels

CMO - WeWork Matterport
Growth and GTM Expert


Robin is a three-time CMO with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and growth leadership roles at companies like Salesforce, Box, LinkedIn, Matterport, and WeWork. He's done 3 IPOs, several acquisitions, and led companies through hyper-growth to become household names. Robin now works as an advisor, speaker, and motivator to fast-growth companies around the world.

Took 3 companies public
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