The best sales professionals don't necessarily come with the fanciest degree, the most charismatic personality or the longest resume. To get consistent results, you need employees who can empathize with customers, build trust and make purposeful decisions that advance the sales process. The next time you're recruiting sales reps, look for these common traits and behaviors that identify top candidates.
Unlike the stereotypical salesperson who can charm anyone, real sales professionals don't just wing it and win every time. It takes preparation to understand customer needs and anticipate their objections. Being prepared shows accountability and drive, so pay attention to how thoroughly a candidate researches the company, asks questions and evaluates your priorities.
Employees who are frequently late are less prepared to manage customers and burden their team with extra work. If a candidate shows up late for an interview, it could be a sign that he doesn't value your time or care how his actions affect other people.
Passionate sales professionals spread enthusiasm to customers, keeping them engaged in the sales process. To spot this quality, find out what candidates do to keep learning and whether they embrace new ideas. People who seek self-improvement are more likely to stay motivated and positive during tough interactions with customers.
Much like passion, good energy leads to stronger connections with customers. If candidates seem bored, indifferent or uninterested during a high-pressure interview, don't expect them to be attentive and energetic when unsupervised.
5. Positive Mentality
When you're struggling to meet sales goals, it pays to have sales professionals who work harder, instead of blaming others. Avoid hiring candidates who badmouth past employers or co-workers, because a negative mentality creates a toxic, unsupportive environment.
Probe into past work experiences to find out how candidates go above and beyond. Do they embrace leadership roles? Volunteer for assignments? Help others solve problems? Clean up in their spare time? Sales professionals who take initiative are great at working independently and providing backup in a pinch.
7. Body Language
For in-person sales, it's essential to hire candidates who exude warmth, trustworthiness and confidence. Stay alert to off-putting behaviors, such as nervous laughing and fidgeting, poor eye contact, rushed speech or constant interrupting.
8. Problem-Solving Skills
Get candidates to talk about times when they made a difficult sale, tried a creative solution to a problem or resolved a customer complaint. Asking for real examples helps you understand how candidates assess a problem and make decisions.
The best sales professionals care about doing a good job, not just collecting a paycheck. Social media pages and blogs are great ways to research candidates who devote time and effort to causes or hobbies without always expecting a reward.
Regardless of skills or experience, good hires have to be comfortable taking direction from managers. Candidates who don't listen, take notes or let you finish sentences may be difficult to coach, making it hard to give feedback or cultivate leadership qualities.
Recruiting sales reps should be an ongoing job, so you never feel pressured to hire the wrong candidates. Build a team of sales professionals who are dedicated to improving operations and satisfying customers if you want to stay ahead of competitors.
Photo courtesy of Grant Robertson at Flickr.com
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