Soft Skills Every AIFP Trader Needs to Succeed

Our paid trader apprenticeship program offers all of the training and mentorship you need to succeed as a commodity trader, which means you don’t need trading experience to apply. But you may still be wondering if you have what it takes to make it as an AIFP trader. While we’ll provide the practical training you need, here are some of the soft skills every AIFP trader needs to succeed.


The building materials and lumber market is always changing. That’s why curiosity is so important to AIFP traders. Not only do you need to have an intellectual curiosity about the industry so you can keep up with what’s happening, but you also need to have emotional curiosity so you can find creative ways to make better connections with your potential clients and vendors.


It’s not just about having enough curiosity to actively seek new knowledge about your clients and their needs, it’s also about having the empathy needed to imagine what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling. Putting yourself in your client’s shoes can help you find hidden motivations and pain points that will help guide your sales conversations. But it doesn’t just help with your clients. It can also help you better navigate relationships with vendors, management, and your colleagues.


You might not think of confidence as a skill, but it is. In fact, even if you don’t think of yourself as someone with a lot of confidence, it’s a quality that can be learned and practiced. Regardless of whether it’s natural or hard-earned, confidence is key to sales success because until you believe in your abilities, qualities, and judgement, you won’t be able to convince other people to believe in them. And if you’re not confident in what you’re selling, you’ll always have a hard time selling it.


Communication isn’t just about being able to express yourself clearly. In fact, communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. Good communication skills allow traders to make high-quality pitches that are specific to their sales target, whether they’re on the phone, sending emails, giving demos, or networking at a conference.


The world of commodity trading is fast paced. The market is constantly changing, supply is constantly shifting, and your clients’ needs are constantly evolving. That’s why flexibility is so important to a trader’s success. If you want to succeed in commodity trading, you have to be able to change directions at the drop of the hat, and you have to be able to do so in a positive and strategic manner.


As every good salesperson knows, while you’re always looking for a “yes,” you have to be okay with hearing “no.” That means that even if you’re underperforming for the month, you still have to be able to enter into your next sales pitch with the same amount of enthusiasm and confidence as you would if you just made a huge sale. Resilience is key if you want to succeed in the long-term, which is why it’s so important for anyone entering into a career as a commodity trader.

Time Management

At AIFP, you’re given the flexibility to grow your own business. But while our commission-only pay structure means you have unlimited earning potential; it also means that you’re only getting paid when you’re making sales. That’s why time management is so important to our traders. The smarter you work, the more you’re able to get done, which means the more sales you’ll be able to secure.

Growth Mindset

What is a growth mindset? It simply means that you believe you can get better at something by dedicating time, effort, and energy into improvement. People with a growth mindset are constantly setting new goals for themselves and then doing whatever it takes to meet them. If you have a growth mindset, you’ll fit in well at AIFP, and our trader training program gives you a great foundation of industry knowledge, sales training, and mentorship so that you can start growing your skills.


When you sell something, you’re essentially offering a solution to a problem people have. For our traders, it’s about getting the right building materials to the right place for the right price. But doing so isn’t always straightforward. In fact, when problems arise, it’s important that traders can pinpoint the root cause and come up with potential courses of action. But problem-solving isn’t just about finding creative solutions to current problems, it’s also about anticipating and preventing future issues.

Now that you better understand the soft skills you need to succeed, it’s time to consider a career at one of the best places to work in Portland. In fact, AIFP is now hiring commodity traders for our paid trader training program. Send us your resume today! In the meantime, check out the AIFP blog, where we cover everything from what you’ll learn in our one-year paid apprenticeship program to how to find work-life balance as a commodity trader.

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