Attributes of Successful Salespeople
Recruiting and hiring top employees is an ongoing challenge for most companies. Like us, you probably have significant internal resources focused on sourcing, hiring and then retaining the best and brightest. When selecting sales professionals, many agencies mistakenly look only for traditional selling skills. They look for those who listen, ask the right questions, build pipelines, demonstrate success in adding new clients each year and problem solve. These are all necessary skills. However, as I’m personally involved in most of the sales hires for Assurance, I tend to lean toward three attributes above all others when interviewing candidates.
- First, I like to have questioning strategies to determine if a potential new salesperson has a willingness to learn. I believe there’s a correlation between self-improvement and success. I like seeing they’re furthering their education in some way. Do they read business periodicals, sales books and show an interest in learning about sales concepts and philosophies? A strong drive to learn from experiences and others will ultimately cause them to become a better professional. The best and brightest for me are always investing time to improve their skills.
- Next, I want a candidate who’s competitive. Competitive people become more focused, work harder, and look for an edge and advantage. These individuals never let obstacles get in their way. They try to turn obstacles into strategies for success. They don’t deny when there’s a roadblock or run from those that appear unexpectedly. Instead, they examine and strategize ways to eliminate it. I’m always looking for an example of a prior sales success wherein they overcame an obstacle, which means more than a success based on being the lowest cost.
- Finally, I want to see that the individual understands how to prepare themselves for a meeting. Is the sales person professional and have personal discipline? The best will put in time rehearsing and preparing for their appointments. My initial read will be the individual’s preparedness for the interview. Did they just bring a note pad or did they bring specific promotional information about their results and future goals? Did they take the time to research the people they’re meeting with and our company before arriving. The amount of information on social media and the internet make this easy and invaluable. Include good behavioral based questioning where the candidate must touch on examples of their strategic planning prior to a prospect call.
Successful salespeople encompass a wide range of personality styles. Interviewing for these attributes, in addition to the old standards, has assisted me in finding some truly outstanding professionals.
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