5 Important Characteristics to Look For When Hiring a Sales Person
Some of the best company cultures in the world are built on the concept of treating your employees like family. So when looking to add to your sales team, you better make sure that they fit the mold of people that you can count on to represent your business well and get the job done. These 5 character traits are common in most successful sales people:
1. Focused and determined
When interviewing a potential candidate, pay attention to whether or not the person sitting in front of you looks you in the eye. This is the first sign of someone who is truly focused on the speaker. Ask about their career goals and where they see themselves in five years. Ask about a previous job or life experience where the odds were against them and they still managed to succeed. Try to find their reputation of winning to make sure this is someone you want on your team.
2. Great listening skills
People often forget that listening is often more important than talking when it comes to selling. As you speak to the potential candidate, ask questions about points you made 5-10 minutes ago to make sure they are focused on your every word. Ask about a time in their life where they had to listen to a friend or a co-worker to better understand the problem. Find out how they have used their listening skills in the past to uncover a need during a sales call. Pay attention to their body language as you speak to see if they are in the moment and honed into your words.
3. Smooth communication skills
Great sales people do not have to be the most eloquent or smartest people in the world. They do need to have smooth communication skills and transition from one idea to the next. During an interview, bounce around to a few different topics and see how the candidate can respond to each. Sales people often have to talk about a multitude of subjects without it coming across as BS. Role play with the person, have them sell you an imaginative project to understand their creative thinking abilities and make sure they at least appear comfortable talking about anything, something that every sales person has to encounter.
4. Persistence and asking "why"
Today, it's more often for sales people to accept taking "no" for an answer. The truth is, sales people will encounter the "no", but it's how they respond that will determine their rate of success. Ask the potential candidate about times in their life when they were knocked down but had to keep getting back up. Then role play with them and you play the role of a customer who refuses to buy. Thank them for the time, tell them the price isn't the issue and flat out say you are not interested in their product. See how the person sitting in front of your responds. If they thank you for your time and ask to call back again in the future, they have failed. Make them ask you "why" you are not interested. Force them to recognize this by refusing to end the role play until they identify the real response you are looking for. This will help you uncover a person's level of persistence and tenacity.
Look at the person in front of you. How did come dressed for the interview? Did they present themselves in an organized manner? Ask about a time in their life when they had to stay organized in order to achieve a goal. Organization is the key to a sales person being able to manage the stress of juggling many different responsibilities. Make sure the person you are going to have on your team is organized with a purpose.
Be sure to consider these characteristics when hiring for your next sales position. Yes, sales skills can be taught, but personal characteristics are ingrained into people's personalities. Make sure the people you are going to hire are good people and will help you achieve your company's goals.
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