If you’re currently hiring sales representatives for your organization, it is best to be as informed as possible on what you need to know before you make a decision. Sales reps are after all, the driving force behind any company’s growth and success.
Here’s what five sales influencers had to say when we asked them the question:
“When hiring, what’s the most important trait(s) to look for in a sales candidate, and what’s the trait(s) to avoid?”
For me, it’s all about “coachability”, willingness to learn and worth ethic. Give me someone who has all of those and I can develop them into a sales superstar. A proven track record is an advantage, especially if in your line of work but a sales person without those 3 factors will reach a ceiling and I’m looking for those salespeople who will want to break those limits and set new, challenging ones.
What turns me off? There are two things. Firstly, the cheesy sales person who tries 1980’s tactics with you in the interview. I once had an interviewee see a photo of my daughter in my office and say “Oh, what a beautiful young lady, I assume this is your daughter? How old is she?” Come on! We’re not auditioning for Glen Garry Glen Ross!
The one trait I look for is first impressions: A firm handshake, eye contact, and good disposition when greeting me.
Alternatively, I avoid hiring sales people who avoid eye contact or look away while speaking with you. That usually goes hand in hand with someone who’s a “fast talker” and never lets you finish a sentence.
#1 trait to look for – Enterprising. The dictionary defines it as, “having or showing initiative or resourcefulness”. After leading, coaching and developing sales professionals for many years, I have come to see this as one of the absolute necessities for a sales person. Being enterprising helps a sales representative to develop and grow their business. Perhaps even more importantly, it is often the key differentiator a sales representative has over the competition. It is the magic ingredient that ensures they find unique ways to solve customer problems and create unique value.
#1 trait to avoid – Little or No Learning Mindset Over time a lack of a “learning mindset” aligns with poor performance. The business of sales is rapidly changing and as a result a top performer today will not necessarily be a top performer tomorrow. Our metrics on sales performers indicate that a learning mindset is a key ingredient for success over time.
Most important characteristics: Work ethic and passion. I can teach product knowledge, skill, techniques and process. I can’t teach you work ethic or passion/drive.
What to avoid: someone who needs constant recognition and praise someone who doesn’t know if they want to be in sales but wants to “try it out” reps who’s first question in an interview is “where do my leads come from?”
I always looked for people that come from a place of service. Combine that with empathy and you have a winning combination.
Traits to avoid? Self-centred and not genuine or authentic. And above all… Avoid sales people that sit across from you, slide a page in front of you, and read upside down. This is not a place for auto pilot.
Leaving the entire hiring process to human managers can be a tough ordeal, and we understand the potential and the pitfalls of sales hiring in the information age. That’s why we incorporated years of scientific research, cutting age artificial intelligence and custom-designed algorithms into SalesHiringHuru, a one-stop sales hiring resource that handles everything for you.