I need sales people, how to find sales people and what to look for when hiring sales people
Perhaps the most frequently used phrase by frustrated sales managers and executives is “I need good sales people”. The reasoning behind it is simple: good sales people are hard to find and often difficult to keep. Quality talent and motivated individuals in a sales force can mean the difference between sparse or negative growth and record breaking performance. Countless companies realize that fact and yet haven’t found a good answer. And that begs the question “what makes good sales people?”
All good sales people have one key attribute in common: they understand other people from different walks of life and have the innate ability to communicate effectively with them. Some may consider this an advanced interpersonal skill, others just realize its the trait of a good sales person. And it can be exhibited in numerous ways. First and foremost, good sales people are great listeners. Sure, the ability to spark a conversation with a potential client is valuable but without good listening skills the sale could be lost and a long-term relationship ruined before it even got off the ground. So for those frustrated sales managers saying “I need good sales people”, look for listeners.
Another interpersonal trait common in a dynamic sales force is the aforementioned gift of gab with those they may have nothing in common with. Sales people that exceed expectations often do so because they not only sell to the customers they share hobbies and interests with but also those that they share very little with. Some may call this trait the ability to be a chameleon. And by no means does it mean simply changing colors. For a seat-of-his-shorts extrovert to develop a bond with a conservative, mild mannered introvert requires this skill in plentiful proportions but a good sales person can pull it off flawlessly. And it requires much more than to simply discuss a slightly out-of-character topic intelligently. Appreciating the plights and successes of those uncommon to ones natural circles and empathizing and verbalizing those thoughts requires true understanding and comprehension. So the next time you overhear a colleague say “I need good sales people”, suggest a chameleon for the ranks.
An additional aspect of the nuts and bolts that make up a good sales person is the ability to learn quickly and effectively. Good sales people don’t all start out that way and neither do supposed experts in a given field. However, most good sales people can learn to be both either in perception or reality. Either way they’ll know how to convey their effective knowledge base and skills to a prospective customer. And great learners aren’t limited to industry or technical knowledge. Good sales people often find it necessary to learn their customers’ businesses in order to effectively sell to them, which may require stepping outside of their own comfort zones in a number of ways. Areas like accounting, manufacturing, or even technical services are quite often very foreign languages to sales people. But if those venues are critical to sales success than learning them can prove extremely valuable. You people that are saying “I need good sales people” should be aware that good learners make some of the best sales people.
Most managers, at one time or another, can be overheard pleading to anyone that will listen, “I need good sales people”. The next time you find yourself in that position try looking for listeners, chameleons and learners. Those traits can be found in some of the best.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.