Some people believe it’s the ability to talk to anyone. Some say a good salesperson is fearless. Others will say it’s an innate trait that can’t be taught; you are either born with it or you are not.
Personally, I don’t believe good salespeople are born that way. I don’t believe that a good salesperson can talk to anyone. We all hate the chatty salesperson. And, I’m not sure that fearlessness is as important as a willingness to deal with the discomforts of sales while on the way to success.
If you sell for a living, you know what I mean. The road to a successful sales career is filled with disappointments, rejection and uncertainty! If all you have is the willingness to put up with those things then you’re 99.99% of the way there.
So, what attributes does a person need to have to be successful? Here are the top 3 that I recommend you look for when interviewing someone for your business:
1. The number one trait that ALL successful salespeople possess is Ambition and Drive. Ambition and Drive is the deep-rooted desire to be successful and the willingness to do whatever it takes to get there.
While money is very important to them, they are driven by something more. Something personal.
They are goal driven, not time driven. The need to achieve those goals is their inspiration. They don’t need you, your company, your manager or your product to inspire them. All of those things are perks and nothing more.
Interview questions to ask:
• “What are your personal goals?”
• “What personal goals have you achieved in the past?”
• “What goals have you NOT achieved?”
• “What happened? How did you handle that? What did you do?”
If the candidate jumps right in with answers, providing some details along with a real understanding of what it means to achieve or not achieve a goal, you’ll know they possess the right mind-set.
2. The second trait that all successful salespeople possess is willingness to Accept Responsibility.
Someone who accepts responsibility takes ownership of his or her results. They tend to look inward for solutions and feel a sense of control over their own destiny. They don’t blame others or hold someone else responsible for what happens. When interviewing, be on the lookout for excuses of any kind.
Interview questions to ask:
• “Tell me about a time when you lost a sale that was particularly painful or cost you a lot of money? What happened?”
• “Give me an example of a time you missed your quota, what happened?”
• “Since we all make mistakes, tell me about your most memorable mistake. What did you do?”
3. The third trait is Taking Action and being proactive.
This one is the sister trait to Ambition and Drive.
Good salespeople are self-motivated and willing to take the initiative to drive business. It’s important, however, that they take the right actions. An overzealous salesperson might jump in unprepared or sell too aggressively, making a bad impression on prospects. Look for someone with a natural sense of good judgment who is well prepared and takes calculated risks.
Interview question to ask:
• “Name a time when you were ‘slow on the trigger’ and wish you had acted sooner. What were the consequences? What did you learn?”
If the candidate hasn’t formulated a plan to avoid making the same mistakes in the future, they are not being very proactive about ensuring success.
Hiring a top salesperson takes time, dedication, and a specific strategy tailored to uncovering a salesperson’s inner composition. Look for these 3 traits in your next candidate and you won’t go wrong.