Most of us will admit that self-esteem is an issue that develops in our childhood and follows us throughout our lives, and hiring managers know that high self-esteem is a key factor in what makes a good salesman.  As long as a person has a high level of self-esteem, he will most likely also have many of the other traits that determine what makes a good salesman: enthusiasm, self-motivation, energy, competitiveness, resilience, and a positive outlook. These are all fundamental aspects of sales success.

A healthy level of self-esteem is what gives salesmen the confidence to go after a target and follow the process just to experience the greatest sound in the world, “YES”. Each sale builds more self-esteem, which creates more confidence, which leads to more sales, and the cycle has the power to repeat itself indefinitely. When a candidate shows the potential to engage in this cycle of success, you know he has what makes a good salesman.


Combined with a competitive nature, high self-esteem translates into a persuasive disposition, which in turn translates into an almost irresistible force (for good). Salesmen with these qualities see the influence they have over others—the way they are able to inspire others to make decisions—and it makes them feel good, not only about themselves, but good in general.

Even in cases where salesmen are rejected, and those cases do occur, a high level of self-esteem enables them to bounce back and keep going, rather than see the rejection as some kind of personal failure that makes it harder and harder to face the next challenge. Like the Energizer Rabbit, good salesmen keep going, and going . . . .

This is not arrogance, nor is it narcissism. Most hiring managers want to avoid the salesmen that customers perceive as obnoxious. A high self-esteem enables a salesman to be proactive, not pushy; strong-willed, not mule-headed; motivated, not confrontational; and confident, not smug. With high self-esteem, salesmen feel natural in any situation, and they can control it with no sign of obnoxious behavior.

Even though good salesmen may have a healthy self-concept, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have some limitations. Rather than ignoring those limitations or despairing of ever improving themselves, good salesmen constantly self-evaluate to stay connected to an  awareness of both their weaknesses and their strengths; they work on creating a balance to capitalize on their strong points, but remain realistic in their expectations and goals.

Sales managers probably most appreciate the fact that the salesmen who exhibit high self-esteem will be the ones who aren’t always looking for emotional and/or professional support from others. As long as supervisors follow recommendations revealed in the pre-employment tests, such as the ones in the AHS sales hiring materials, to recognize their achievements, reward their successes, etc., these salesmen will always maintain a high performance level in every phase of the job. They are the self-starters who will set challenging goals for themselves, and will do everything within their power to achieve those goals. That’s ultimately what makes a good salesman.