How to Be a Great Salesperson: 5 Insanely Powerful Secrets of the World’s Best Salespeople


How to be a great salesperson

Hey friend,

Do you really think you can turn into a great salesperson simply by Googling the phrase “How to Be a Great Salesperson”?

Well, I have news for you…

You’re friggin’ absolutely right you can!

I’ll explain by first addressing what you might be asking yourself at this point:

Can you really learn how to increase sales just by reading this article?

Yes, because I will show you exactly how to get started on your path to super sales stardom.

But be warned…eventhough this article will reveal to you how to be great at sales, it’s still on YOU to follow through with the valuable information I’m about to share with you.

Does that make sense?

(By the way…I hate using the phrase “Does that make sense?” except when I’m trying to explain why you should stop using that phrase. It’s like you’re stating to the other person, “You’re not an idiot, right? Because what I told you could only be misunderstood by an idiot, which you surely are not…right?” Instead say something more modest yet firm, like, “Did I do a good job explaining that?”)

Are you ready to catapult your sales career into the stratosphere?

Then re-fill your glass and cozy up in your favorite piece of furniture at the office or home, because it’s time to read a very useful online article about how to be a great salesperson, entitled:


How to Be a Great Salesperson:
5 Insanely Powerful Secrets (That Really Work!) of the World’s Best Salespeople

5. Learn your customer to earn your customer.

Great salespeople sell the most because they know what their customers want.

But how would they even know what their customers want?

The answer is simple:

They ask!

Afterall, if you don’t know what your potential buyers want (e.g. a solution to a problem they are facing in their life and/or business), then how do you know if you could help them?

And if you don’t know, now you know. And you WILL know it…just by asking them.

Why Is Qualifying So Important For Salespeople to Do?

As one of my favorite sales authors Mike “Mr. Inside Sales” Brooks puts it so elegantly:

You’re going to invest considerable amounts of time, money, effort, and energy into turning this prospect into a new customer. (Heck, if it was easy, then more people would work in sales, am I right?)

So doesn’t it make sense that you should know if the prospect has the need and the means to purchase your product?

A great salesperson must qualify their potential buyers by asking them questions about their needs to determine if their product or service can be a good fit.

For some excellent examples of good qualifying questions every great salesperson must ask every prospect early in the sales conversation, check out this extremely helpful article by one of my favorite sales experts, Emma Snider from the HubSpot Sales Blog:

16 Sales Qualification Questions to Identify Prospects Worth Pursuing

It’s time to move on to the next secret of being a better salesperson. It’s one of my personal faves, and you’re about to find out why…

4. People buy from people they like. And they like people who like them.

Great salespeople know how to relate to others.

Now don’t get it twisted. This doesn’t mean that great salespeople are perpetual head-nodding sycophants or the more modern yet gender-specific term yesmen.

They don’t even have to agree on everything their prospect says or believes. They just need to know the other person’s perspective and why they feel the way they do.

This way, you can empathize and see the situation from your potential buyer’s perspective, which will help you uncover their reasons to buy (or not buy) from you.

A great salesperson is someone who can level with people they are doing business with and not come across as either cocky or worse…clueless.

Truly stellar sales professionals know how to present themselves as knowledgable resources who specialize in helping people find the right solution to a problem.

Even if trying to see things from different viewpoints is a challenge, you can still make a lot of headway on your path to sales greatness simply by being a genuinely likeable human (although truly great salespeople have both empathy and likeability by the truckload).

And believe it or not, you can learn how to be likeable. A good place to learn how to be likeable is by reading this fantastic article, “How To Be More Likeable At Work: 10 Things To Do Today“.

It is a good starting point if you find you’re lacking in the likeability department and this low level of likeability is holding you back in life.

3. Your real education starts when school ends.

What happens to a knife’s edge if you use it daily but never sharpen it?

It goes dull and stops working.

The same can be said for your sales career if you don’t take responsibility for your future and invest in becoming the best salesperson you can be.

The opportunities to improve your sales skills, no matter how many years you’ve been selling, are growing at an explosive pace.

Do any searching for sales training online, and you’ll find countless recorded sales training seminars, books, articles, courses, videos, etc.

Or do yourself a huge favor right now and invest 3 minutes of your valuable time and watch a brief video to learn more about the person whom I consider to be the very best sales trainer who ever lived.

The Greatest Sales Trainer In the World

Perhaps the most influential and life-altering sales trainer I’ve ever had the honor of learning from is Stan “Mr. Fantastic” Billue.

Stan taught me many things that have helped me with both my sales career and life.

Unfortunately, Stan recently passed away this past May. However, his legacy and tremendous sales knowledge live on.

If you want to learn how to become better at sales, then your first stop on this journey should be to check out Stan Billue.

Other Great Sales Training Resources To Check Out 

Join a sales trade organization
One of my favorite ways to get trained on sales is through joining trade associations that provide members with access to sales education and resources.

If you work in inside sales, and you’re serious about setting yourself up for success in your career, then I highly recommend you join the American Association for Inside Sales Professionals (AAISP).

There are also many LinkedIn Groups that have thousands of salespeople having interesting discussions focused specifically on how to kick mucho rears in sales while also helping each other and our companies to grow.

And isn’t that what could really help the economy? More sales growth for more companies…that’s a tall order…but not impossible.

If the impossible is to happen, then we’ll all need to help each other out by offering our service and value.

One such group making the impossible happen on a regular basis is the Sales Hacker Community.

We’ll go into more detail on why it’s so worth it to join the Sales Hacker Community. I namedrop their awesomeness several times in the next few paragraphs devoted to useful tools and resources to help salespeople become great.


You’ll hit the gas harder in being awesome in sales and in life if you invest at least an hour a day, everyday to getting better in your craft of professional selling.

With so many resources to learn from, you’ll probably find yourself investing much more than an hour once you see how easy, fun, and useful these sales training tools can be.

And that’s what you really want, isn’t it?

Attend Sales Training Conferences and Seminars

Another highly useful sales training resource is Selling Power magazine and their Sales 2.0 conference series.

It was at this conference and many others where I met many sales trainers and social selling experts that are my teachers in this exciting profession we call “sales”.

Another can’t-miss conference every serious salesperson must attend is the annual HubSpot INBOUND conference that takes place every year in Boston.

I tell you, nobody does a party like my buddy at HubSpot, the VP of Sales, Pete Caputa, who also runs the Collaborative Growth Network.

And of course, you can’t say the words “sales conference” and immediately think of the biggest, baddest, and boldest sales conference of them all…I’m talking of course about the infamous…

Sales Hacker Conference!

Free Online Sales Training

If you don’t want to invest the big bucks into the cost of purchasing tickets for attending these conferences,  hotel mini bar charges, and “miscellaneous” other expenses that come with going to sales-related events, then you can always get tons of useful and really inspiring sales training content online.

Many sales websites offer online training and eBooks as “freebies” to entice people to sign up for their newsletter.

Here are some of my other favorite sales teachers with excellent sales training content that will give you the knowledge and mindset to succeed:

  • Alice Heiman who is also one of the best and liveliest sales conference hosts I’ve ever seen.
  • Jill Rowley  the world’s foremost expert on teaching salespeople how to use Social Selling to reach more qualified prospects and close more deals.
  • Juliana “The Startup Sales Queen” Crispo’s awesome (and free) Startup Sales Course, delivered in multiple lessons via email on a weekly basis. That means you can learn how to sell better at your convenience.

Regardless of how you choose to continue your own professional training and education, you will find that the more you learn about how to be a great salesperson, the more you will apply it to successful selling.

Show me a bad salesperson and I’ll show you someone who needs to read more. By investing in your own sales education today, you are cementing a future of huge growth and unlimited sales potential.

And that’s what you really want, isn’t it?

OK, stay with me. I have two more critically vital things you must know if you ever want to become truly great at sales. Beginning with one of my favorite business sayings…

2. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

If you know me personally, then you’d know that I am a big sports fan. In particular, baseball.

I love the game so much that I also coach youth baseball to help kids learn the game (and about life).

And something that I learned from baseball is the importance of measuring your past performance, such as how you batted against a particular pitcher.

If you don’t keep track of the numbers that dictate your performance, then how do you know what you need to improve?

How do you spot trends, both good and bad?

How do you know how you compare to others?

See where I’m going with all this?

Numbers don’t lie. They speak the truth. And the truth might hurt, but a least it tells you what part of your sales game needs to be fixed.

And as we know, if you don’t fix a problem, it will usually get worse, not better.

What Sales Numbers Do Great Salespeople Measure?

At the very least, you should know how many sales you are closing monthly/weekly/daily/whatever makes sense for your particular sales context.

Next, you should be measuring sales-related activities, such as number of cold calls made, meetings booked, demos shown, etc.

Regardless of what sales numbers you are measuring, you should use the information to help you focus on areas in need of improvement.

The best way to increase your one, all-important number (sales), is to increase the activities that lead to more conversations with potential buyers who you qualified.

Do you play fantasy football?

Well, imagine instead of football, the game is sales. And the fantasy players are your real-life sales reps.

Since sales is such a numbers-driven operation that is easy to know right off the bat (pun intended) if a salesperson is good or not. You simply look at the sales closed and revenue brought in and you’ll have your definitive answer.

But imagine if you could track many other sales numbers, such as number of cold calls made, meetings booked, proposals sent, etc?

And when you track these numbers, you can then compare how individual sales reps are performing side-by-side.

Take this critical skill of a good sales manager (tracking numbers) and mix it with the fun of fantasy football or baseball, and what do you get?

A sales leader’s dream come true called Ambition.

I met Ambition’s co-founder Travis Truett at a sales conference, and I was blown away by his idea for gamifying your sales team’s game.

Here’s a handy video that compares Ambition vs Fantasy Sales Team, a competitor in the growing fantasy sales software category.


Not making enough sales prospecting and cold call dials?

Maybe it’s because you are not managing your time right, or you’re simply spending more time dialing than selling.

Consider investing in a predictive dialer like ConnectLeader.

Need to get more sales leads with the right contact information?

Check out Seamless Contacts, a very useful sales tool that promises to deliver you valid, updated contact information for your sales prospects.

1. Failure is the pregame warmup for the game of success.

Great salespeople know that failure is opportunity in disguise.

Famous NFL coach Mike Ditka put it brilliantly:

Every salesperson has been there and gone through your typical standard sales scenarios like:

  • The cold call that hung up on you (If you haven’t been hung up on at least once, you haven’t made enough phone calls).
  • The demo that is met with a deafening silence.
  • The proposal that went unanswered.
  • Sure-thing close that went into limbo at the last minute.

These things happen in sales. I know because they happened to me. A lot. And they will happen to you. If they don’t, then you’re not doing it right.

So what do you so when you’re facing failure in sales?

Do you let it knock you off your grind, give up, put your tail between your legs, take your ball, and go home crying to mama?

Or do you rock your big salesperson sweatpants and refuse to let failure (or the fear of failure) knock you off your grind?

The fact that you’re still reading this far already tells me your answer.

Here’s a personal tip from someone who has had his fair share of failure, both in sales and in life (this is me, by the way).

If you do feel yourself getting down or frustrated with rejection, just say to yourself, “That prospect just wasn’t a good fit. This next call will be better” and use the failure as a lesson in what not to do (and what to do instead) the next time.

There Is No Failure When The Lesson Is Learned.

You only fail when you do not learn. And if you don’t learn, then you won’t know how to be a great salesperson.

That’s because great salespeople got that way by trying to become great salespeople.

And as we all know, sometimes when you try something, the result might not always be good.

But at least now you know how it happened and what you can do to achieve a possibly better result. But you can’t do that if you don’t learn, and you can’t learn unless you try and fail.

A great salesperson knows that the more failures they survive, the more knowledge they’ll gain on what they should do to improve.

The Sum Up

Here are 5 secrets for becoming a better salesperson:

5. Learn your customer to earn your customer. Take the time to qualify your prospects and you’ll spend more time with customers who want to buy from you. This leads to more sales because you’ll be talking to more interested buyers.

4. People buy from people they like. And they like people who like them. Don’t be a typical a*hole salesperson, pardon my French. Instead, be a knowledgable and likable person your mom knew you’d become.

3. Your real education starts when school ends. Never stop learning how to improve at sales. I’ve found that the best way to learn is to teach. Print this article and put it on a colleague’s office chair or share the link on your social media. You never know what kind of leads this will produce.

2. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Keep track of important numbers like how many cold calls you make or demos were presented. See if you can spot any trends or factors that lead to success…and do your best to replicate them as many times as possible to maximize your sales!

1. Failure is the pregame warmup for the game of success. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. And if you’re not trying, then you’re not selling.

Are you ready to follow these steps and achieve the rewards you know you deserve? I think I know your answer!

It is my sincere hope that this article on how to be a great salesperson has helped you in your own sales career.

If you liked what you read, then please share it with others using the social sharing buttons below.

As always, I welcome your feedback and questions in the comments.

Thanks again for reading and here’s to your success, friend!

photo credit: Dennis Skley via photopin (license)

James K. Kim About James K. Kim
James K. Kim (Jim) is a commercial real estate advisor with Pyramid Brokerage Company of Albany, Inc. in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in helping business owners expand into new locations or sell/lease a commercial retail, office, industrial, or investment property.

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