Sales People Need Special Qualities to Succeed

by Sima Ballinger 2 years ago in advice

A sales person needs to genuinely like people to do well on the job.

Sales People Need Special Qualities to Succeed

When I was a student at Dale Carnegie Training, one of the first things I was taught was how to make friends. To be able to connect with people and make friends is at the crux of being a good retail sales person. Genuinely caring for others fosters goodwill and opens the door to do business. If you don’t like people, a sales job is definitely not for you. You can pack your bags and hit the road. But if you do have an interest and a knack for drawing people in, come along for a ride to step up your game as a sales person.

Sales people come a dime a dozen. They get hired as quickly as they get fired or let go. In 2016, there were almost five million retail sales workers. Reason being, there is no experience nor education level required to qualify. These jobs are usually held down by students, seniors, retirees, or individuals who have another income. Store owners who have no retail background, but know how to care about customers, have a greater chance of being successful. Look over these qualities to see if it’s a good fit for you. (Customer and guest will be used interchangeably.)

Genuinely Like People

You must have a genuine curiosity about people before they walk in the door. If you don’t, people will sense it. First greet the potential customer with a smile and a warm greeting. Walk confidently toward the individual approaching and say something like, “Hello, it’s a beautiful day, welcome to such and such store.” You’re off to an excellent start. Sometimes the individual will ask for what they want, and other times you will need to ask them.


Take a look at their expression, and listen very closely to what they say. Guests usually give you a clue as to what they need and want. The main thing to remember about someone that walks in the door is, never be forceful. You can be firm, but not forceful.

Good Conversationalist and Listener: Samples of Questions and Behaviors Listed Below

  • What can I help you with today?
  • Are you shopping for a gift for someone?
  • If you do not recognize the individual ask, Is this your first visit here?
  • If minors are present, ask the guardian, How old is he? And go a step further and ask the child’s name.
  • Follow me, let me show you something I think you will like.
  • Compliment the guest. This can be tricky though, but it’s a risk worth taking. I like your hat.
  • The weather is simply delightful/awful. Talking about the weather always gets a buy in from guest.
  • How did you find out about this store?
  • Do you live in the neighborhood?

The objective is to strike up a conversation to make the customer feel at home. Just be careful to observe if the customer is in a hurry or not. If a customer is in a hurry you will see it in their body language. They will walk fast, look deliberately as to be locating the item they are looking for or try and ignore you altogether.

Last thing I will mention is, allow the guest to have freedom and privacy when shopping. They don’t want to be nagged or followed around the store. Give them some space and breathing room to explore. With cell phones, customers have the option of doing all sorts of activities such as: researching the product, photographing the item and discussing the item with someone over the phone.

Good luck and happy selling!

Sima Ballinger
Sima Ballinger
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Sima Ballinger

Sima is communicator. She graduated from college with a Business Degree and is a Dale Carnegie honors graduate. Get a dose of inspiration from her.

See all posts by Sima Ballinger