Sales managers must consider many different qualities when looking to add a new member to their sales team. Traits such as the ability to listen, overcome rejection and handle pressure are fundamental to a salesperson’s success, but they can all be learned over time.
Dr. Christopher Croner, author of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again, says three innate, non-teachable assets are just as important:
This combination determines the drive that a salesperson needs in order to succeed in the profession, Croner argues. Hiring with these characteristics in mind can help a sales manager be more successful. Conversely, those who aspire to a career in sales can ask themselves these types of questions to determine their own hunger for success.
Need to Achieve
This characteristic is demonstrated by the desire to work tirelessly in pursuit of a goal. This quality isn’t something tangible that you can easily detect in the sales hiring process. To determine whether someone has this drive, sales managers should ask questions similar to these in interviews:
This trait is marked by a person’s unquenchable thirst to outperform himself and others, as well as an incredible will to win. That competitiveness doesn’t have to be isolated to the work environment, either. It could be illustrated by a sales candidate’s admission that he can’t stand to lose a game of Monopoly with friends.
To ensure you’re dealing with a sales candidate who is truly competitive, you should ask questions such as:
This trait is one of the most important drivers of sales success, yet sales leaders often overlook it. Regardless of their roles or responsibilities, sales reps must deal with frequent rejection and adversity. If they lack the optimism to overcome those hurdles, then they aren’t likely to last very long.
The best salespeople possess the certainty that they won’t be denied. For instance, when a prospect hangs up on or berates a sales rep, how do they respond? In an interview, it can be hard to see which end of that spectrum a sales candidate leans to, but you can look for evidence by asking questions such as:
These three qualities are usually indicators — though not a guarantee — of success in sales. Good sales managers know this and think of it as another filtering mechanism. If you find candidates who pass this test, then you can feel more confident moving forward with them. And if you’re aspiring to a career in sales and have good answers to these questions, then congratulations, you just might have a bright future.