Three Tips for Knowing What to Look for in a Successful Salesperson

Job in sales

“What qualities should I look for in a salesperson?” It’s a question many hiring managers are asking as they look for ways to build a strong team from the get-go. It’s often said that it’s easier to hire a great sales employee, rather than build one up from the ground floor. Not everyone looking for a career in sales is necessarily suited for it, after all — according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, only about 37% of surveyed salespeople had skillsets for selling that were consistently effective.

So, what should you be looking for and asking your interviewees when it comes time to find a new salesperson? Here are three tips on how to hire a sales rep for your company.

1. Consider Why They’re Leaving Their Old Job

As Adam Robinson, CEO of Hireology points out, “great salespeople don’t leave great jobs.” Be wary of anyone leaving a job before their first six months are done — this is how long it typically takes a salesperson to consistently reach their quotas. Quitting is likely indicative of them realizing their performance has been poor. Great salespeople quit because management changes, or the company starts to cap their earnings.

2. An Understanding of the Right Environment

When you’re trying to hire sales people, you need someone who will be a good fit for the type of environment already in place. This means you need sales people who plan ahead, and who can answer your in-depth questions about their past experience. If they were the top salesperson on their team was it out of five employees, or 250? Are they comfortable making multiple cold-calls every day, and following up on them? Ask the candidate to compose a 30-60-90 day plan of how they expect their first three months in the position to unfold. Does their plan match your expectations?

3. Common Attributes of the Best Sales People

As referenced earlier, the Harvard University study on the successful attributes top salespeople share can be enlightening. They found that these individuals don’t take “no” personally; they possess high levels of empathy; they are intensely goal-oriented; find it easy to approach strangers; and have above average-determination. Being hungry for money, in this case, is not as important as being hungry for success when it comes to finding leaders that experience long-term sales success.

Do you have tips on how to hire a sales rep? Let us know in the comments.

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