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Decoding the DNA of the Classic Sales Personality

February 12, 2024

By: Alaina Sims

We all have our own image of what a salesperson looks and acts like. Maybe you think of someone in a business suit who wines-and-dines clients at expensive restaurants. Or perhaps someone who frantically runs back and forth between multiple customers, trying to get each of them to commit to a purchase, springs to mind. In reality, salespeople are much more complex than these caricatures.  

In our nearly four decades in business, with thousands of assessments under our belt, Omnia has uncovered the characteristics that define the quintessential sales personality. Not surprisingly, it all starts with…  

The Drive to Win

Ambition is a fundamental attribute for a salesperson. This trait is shown by a tall column 1 on the Omnia Assessment and indicates a competitive spirit, strong assertiveness, and the determination to go after new business. Confident, goal-oriented salespeople take bold, proactive measures to seek out new opportunities and develop them into new clients and revenue streams. They can directly ask a prospect for the sale (and keep on asking if needed). They are motivated by the thrill of the hunt, and they want to be rewarded for their individual successes.  

They want to prove themselves through their achievements and enjoy being able to keep score. That can look like receiving a big paycheck, winning sales competitions, and having their names on the top of a sales leaderboard. They are comfortable taking chances, and that extends to their ease with at-risk pay. These salespeople often prefer having a smaller base salary with a large percentage of performance-based pay; some may even want a 100% commission pay structure. This inspires them to take more risks and keep pressing for sales.  


Omnia’s traditional sales benchmark possesses an approachable demeanor and a socially outgoing communication style, shown by a tall column 3. These salespeople are energized by being around others and can strike up conversations easily, even with people they don’t know; this ability can be hugely helpful to garner leads and ask for referrals.  

Their expressive, engaging personality is often valuable in sales roles that require strong rapport-building skills and the need to maintain strong relationships with potential and existing customers. This communication style is also beneficial in positions where the individual must use emotionally compelling appeals to sell the product or service. These salespeople are adept at reading prospects’ social cues and understanding how to phrase their pitches and construct their presentations in a way that most appeals to their audience. 

Sense of Urgency

The classic sales personality works at a fast pace and is comfortable with the dynamic, sometimes hectic, nature of a sales position. This is evidenced by a tall column 5. Salespeople with this personality want to close sales as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next lead; as such, they prefer working in a short sales cycle.  

These salespeople can work on several deals at once and do not feel rattled when they have to rearrange their schedule at the last minute to meet with an interested prospect — anything to capitalize on a promising opportunity! Similarly, they are not fazed when their manager sets ambitious deadlines for them. 

Resilience and Independence

The ability to bounce back quickly is another key characteristic of the traditional sales personality, and it is shown by a tall column 7. These salespeople can roll with the punches when faced with turndowns or other setbacks. While they may not like hearing No (and may work very hard to change it to a Yes), if the sales attempt ultimately fizzles, they can turn their focus toward the next opportunity and keep moving forward. That kind of rejection may cause many of us to look for a safe place to recover (or maybe that’s just me), but for this personality, it simply adds fuel to their fire to ensure the next deal gets closed.  

Because these salespeople understand — and are okay with the fact — that things won’t always go as planned, they are comfortable trying novel or untested approaches. They don’t have to use the same methods for every sale. Actually, they enjoy being able to innovate and figure things out on the fly. 

They don’t feel the need to ask their manager for guidance or permission often (or maybe ever). These independent salespeople prefer having ample latitude to make decisions on their own, and they prefer a manager who lets them work autonomously and who focuses more on the end result of making deals than the processes used to achieve them. 

The classic sales personality is multifaceted, and all of the various aspects work together to create a dynamic salesperson. Sales roles are multifaceted too, and some require a slightly different sales persona. Check back next week when Keather Snyder discusses less conventional, but no less successful, personality characteristics that you may benefit from adding to your sales team. 

Curious about the sales personalities on your staff? Try our Sales Style report to uncover each person’s unique traits and understand the best way to manage and motivate them to success. 

Alaina Sims

Alaina first joined Omnia in 2003 as an analyst and was sold on its mission from the start. So much so that, after a move and brief time away, she came back in 2013 and now works as the Senior Manager of Profile Analysis and Workflow. She writes and edits various Omnia products and is the resident “follow-upper” to help keep the department running smoothly. She is grateful for a role that marries her love of data analysis and the written word in a way that enables her to help clients find (and keep) productive, fulfilled employees.

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