Everyone, well almost everyone, wants better sales results, and as you might suspect, better sales results don’t, just happen for everyone and are totally illusive for some. It is for those two groups, that I am sharing the results of nearly 40 years of sales performance research. We have found that candidates who possess the 5 attributes (listed below) will, if given the right-track-to-run-on; likely out-perform all others, when it comes to making sales. And, I might add, that is what we want when we hire a salesperson.
The 5 attributes are:
Each of these attributes can be identified, for their presence, before you make a hire. Looking at each briefly:
INITIATIVE – Listed first because of all the needed skills, we believe Initiative is the most important. A candidate who has Initiative is someone who “works in the white spaces of their job description. In other words, they are active and going beyond what you have seen or would normally expect someone to do in a sales role. A Key Indicator – Did they arrive early for the interview?
SELF-AWARENESS – Number two only because you can’t have two number ones, Self-Awareness is critical to sales success because it is difficult to get better if you do not know from where you are beginning. A top sales person will always know who they are and what top skills they have that can be leveraged. In other words, they know what they don’t know. A Key Indicator – Do they appear calm, cool and collected, in your presence?
EMPATHY – According to Frank Bettger, a sales icon and author of the book How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, the most important secret to salesmanship is finding out what the other person wants… Doing that requires Empathy or the ability to see and understand things from the other person’s point of view. A superior salesperson will exhibit a unique ability to understand what is important to you.
A Key Indicator – Does this person mostly listen or mostly talk. If it is the latter, chances are they are not empathetic.
COMMUNICATION – Have you ever known a superior salesperson who was not an outstanding communicator? Being able to clearly communicate with others is a basic requirement for top sales people. A Webster’s dictionary definition of Communication is: a giving or exchanging of information. Isn’t that what good sales people do? Find out what the prospect needs and help them understand how their product or service will produce the desired end result. Key Indicator – Does this person ask good questions?
RESILIENCE – Salespeople are rejected a lot. They hear a lot of Nos. Some wilt, dry up and blow away with every rejection. Being able to recover from a no or a decline is critical. All the best salespeople I have ever known were Resilient people. They realized that every rejection or no brought them that much closer to a Yes and were anxious to get to that point, so they picked themselves up and went on to the next challenge, knowing that they would reach their goal. Key Indicator – Can this person talk about failure and success?