Want to turbocharge your sales? If you're planning to hire a sales team in the near future (or inject some new life into your current sales team), keep an eye out for these seven characteristics when interviewing potential candidates.
Jyssica Schwartz, director of sales at Authors Unite, says she looks for confidence. "Can they look me in the eye, [do they] have a firm handshake, speak fairly well?" These are often signs that the candidate is self-assured. Many prospects will perceive and respect the authority confident salespeople exude.
According to research conducted by Peak Sales Recruiting, top salespeople are committed to success and will accept nothing less. That's why they spend an average of 19 to 23 hours selling per week, while average salespeople spend only 14 to 18. Top salespeople are willing to put in the time and they don't give up easily. The number of times they contact prospects is another testament to their extraordinary drive; top performers reach out more than nine times, while the average salesperson quits after making just two calls.
3. A Solution-Oriented Mindset
Your salespeople should be able to explain how your product or service can address an issue or alleviate a pain point the customer or organization is experiencing. That's a critical skill, say 73 percent of respondents in the Peak Sales Recruiting study. Top salespeople can analyze customer information, spot the obstacles and apply their knowledge of your product or service to offer a well-articulated solution.
Top salespeople know that there's more to gain from actively listening to the prospect than there is from spending a lot of time trying to force-feed them information about the product or service. By listening and asking follow-up questions, you can often learn so much more about the opportunity. Or, as Chris Allen, founder of FirmTree, explains, astute listeners "can connect the dots to understand the challenges a customer has [relative] to the solutions of the product or service being sold. Then they can break this down in a fashion where the customer sees the upside as a must-have."
5. Healthy Curiosity
You know you're in the presence of a top seller, says Amanda Goldman-Petri of Market Like A Nerd, "when an applicant flips our roles in the interview and starts interviewing me instead. When they start asking me questions, that is the sign of someone who knows how to properly qualify a prospect and lead the conversation." The conversation flips because the salesperson is hungry for information. That can be a very good thing.
The difference between average and top salespeople, says James Pollard of The Advisor Coach, is that "the best salespeople tend to have extraordinary amounts of discipline." That means that they will "make the calls, send the letters, write the notes, etc., no matter how they feel or what negative experiences they have had ... They are also disciplined enough to read the books, get the training and educate themselves to be better salespeople."
Being able to bounce back after hearing "no," or even a series of "noes," is a sign of a skilled salesperson. They don't take "no" personally; they use it to fuel their desire to get a "yes."
Ideally, you want to hire a sales team that is strong in all seven of these areas, but according to the Peak Sales Recruiting study, the most important characteristic of all is being driven — driven to succeed.
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