Keeping It Real: 5 Qualities of a Truly ‘Genuine’ Salesperson


How many times have you been “sold” to with that sinking feeling that the seller could care less about your goals, wants or needs and hoping you’re not being duped? It’s a pretty icky feeling and chances are we’ve all been there at least once.


I’ve been thinking a lot about how salespeople—including myself—can be more genuine to really make a difference. I come from the school of thought that those in the dynamic world of sales should do everything in our power to disprove the negative stereotypes that are often attributed to the industry. One of the best ways to accomplish said goal is to lead with an authentic foot along with a genuine desire to support the journey of our buyers to really build meaningful business relationships.


As it turns out, there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to authenticity… There’s an enormous amount of research suggesting that being genuine is critical to overall sales performance. In fact, people that are genuine and have a high emotional intelligence (EQ) make more money annually than people that do not. Additionally, people that display these qualities tend to work better within a team along with embracing change and knowing how to pivot to be successful.


Now more than ever, authenticity is key in today’s competitive sales landscape. Below, you’ll find five examples of genuine behavior while learning valuable techniques that will help you personally and professionally.


#1 – Passion


Many people simply pursue the path they believe will provide them with a steady income or big returns. Selecting a career based on this thought pattern is completely normal, but if it’s the only factor that’s considered, it can lead to an empty road ahead…


Although the people that subscribe to this idea might find success, the fact of the matter is that the best salespeople are after much more than just money. Of course, the bottom line is still important to them, but it’s not the be-all or end-all. On top of looking for a big paycheck, the top salespeople also want to feel passionate about their work, tend to be mission-driven to stand by what their product or service does, get a magnificent sense of satisfaction when they help their buyers win that ultimately increases their chances of finding success.


If you’d like to amplify your passion for what you’re doing on a daily basis, consider writing a few key things down daily, I promise it makes a BIG difference. At the beginning of every day (it only takes a few minutes), think about and jot down what you’re most grateful for, how you’ve grown in the last week, one new thing you can do or learn or something that’s keeping you up at night… For example, you could be grateful for a new chrome extension that helps you create efficiencies so you can spend more time with your buyers, you learned a new PowerPoint trick that went over really well with your audience, you want to read a new sales productivity book by the end of the month and you’re trying to figure out the best way to get into XYZ account that you know has a need for your product/service, but they’re not responding.


#2 – Humility


Many people that decide to work in sales are high-achievers who have a knack for great conversation. They have a thirst for achieving their goals and everything that accompanies it, but sometimes they forget that hard work should also include humility…


Humble people tend to make the most effective leaders, and they’re more likely to thrive and grow in solo and team dynamics. If this weren’t enough by itself, humble people are also more genuine and gracious when they interact with their customers and colleagues. They are the true “magnets” that all of us want to be around and emulate.


One of the best ways to add more humility into your day is to embrace and implement active listening skills.


It absolutely helps in so many fulfilling ways to listen twice as much as you talk. By following this ratio, you’ll set yourself up to learn more from others, have a stronger “voice” when you do speak, and the people you interact with will enjoy spending time with you because you help them feel heard and cared for.


#3 – Curiosity


This is one of my favorites! If you’ve worked in sales long enough, you’re no stranger to hearing, seeing, or rattling off a mindless, painful script. It’s all too easy to view work as mundane and repetitive, but if you want to rise to the top and stay there, you’ll need to avoid this cookie-cutter approach at all costs.


Successful salespeople are curious about their products, their marketplace, their buyers, their company’s roadmap and the people they work with regardless of how much information they already have. Their curiosity allows them to stay on top of important trends, foster stronger relationships, understand valuable insights and helps them stay ahead of the curve to connect the dots in consequential ways. It also helps to stay grounded reinforcing they don’t know everything, no matter how long they’ve been in the industry or have worked with XYZ company.


Curiosity creates an opportunity to connect and communicate in important ways with anyone you encounter. To do that, you must have a genuine desire to understand what makes them “tick”. When it comes to embracing curiosity, make the time to prepare thought-provoking questions that help you gain perspective on what the other person is dealing with, understand and pinpoint valuable details to help you develop a winning strategy, all the while learning a thing or two at the same time.


#4 – Resiliency


One of the toughest things to accept in a sales role (and let’s face it life) is rejection. It’s hard to face failure and rejection on a daily basis, so much so that many salespeople end up doing everything in their power to avoid it.


Throughout my career, I’ve seen almost every technique in the book used to get over rejection, but one stands out among the rest—using an alternate persona. When salespeople are rejected time and time again, they often feel that they are the problem, so they stray away from who they really are. Unfortunately, this often makes them come off as disingenuous, defensive, or shallow—making it even harder for them to succeed in sales.


If you’d like to avoid this common pitfall, you must first realize that when you face failure in sales, it’s generally not personal and absolutely par for the course. In fact, it’s a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow. As such, you don’t need to change yourself to improve your numbers. You simply need to embrace the idea of being yourself and continue trying in the most genuine way you know how. It might take some time, but it’ll pay off in the long run. Instead of a doom and gloom perspective try to look at every situation as an opportunity to understand what was missing and look for ways to bridge any potential gaps.


#5 – Confidence  (But Check Your Ego)


At first glance, confidence seems to be in direct opposition to humility. I’ve seen many strong people avoid exuding confidence in their professional lives because they didn’t want to be perceived as ego maniacs.  On the flip side, I’ve seen such cringe-worthy grotesque displays of arrogance and ego that any sort of modesty was tough to come by.


I recently read a piece by Steve Errey that said, “confidence is the foundation that makes it okay to be vulnerable”.  Think about it, understanding when you’re at your best, honing into the times when you’ve been firing on all cylinders and how that feels, is a way to truly tap into your confident self in a genuine way to put your best foot forward.


Wrapping Up… 


If you spend your time in or around the world of sales, it’s important for you to find ways to connect with others in a meaningful way. While there are countless opinions out there about how to become the best salesperson, many of them are full of “fluff” or baseless words of advice. Fortunately, there are a few scientific techniques that people can implement to succeed—one of which is being genuine.