7 years ago
February 21, 2017

5 Attributes You Should Be Looking for in Your Sales People

What attributes should you look for in the sales people you hire?

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

What attributes should you look for in the sales people you hire? This is an important question to think about and answer for yourself before you ever start looking through resumes and interviewing candidates. When you know what to look for, you’re much better able to make good hiring decisions, and these good decisions lead to a strong, successful sales team.

Look for the following five traits in the people you interview. When you find these attributes in the sales people you hire, you’ll find that morale improves on your sales team and your own stress lessens.


Did the candidate show up on time for the interview? Was he or she well-prepared? If not, keep looking. The best sales people are well prepared. This means they use completed agendas, they keep their contact information up-to-date, they do research before they make sales calls, and they tailor their presentations for each new prospect.

When you hire sales people who are prepared, your whole sales team runs more smoothly. You’ll have far fewer emergencies to interrupt the flow of your work days, and you’ll be able to trust the judgment of your sales people more completely.

Parity with Customers

Some sales people have drilled into their heads phrases like, “The customer is always right,” and while it’s important to ensure that customers are happy, successful sales people assume a slightly different mantra.

Instead of seeing themselves as servants doing the customers’ bidding, the best sales people view themselves as problem solvers who are worthy of the same kind of respect they offer their customers. This attribute can be hard to find in potential sales reps, but it can really make a difference in the success of your sales team.

Good Questioning Skills

Higher-performing sales reps ask more questions than lower-performing sales reps. The skill of asking good questions–and lots of them–leads to more sales. Why is this?¬†

Sales reps who ask lots of questions get a better understanding of what the customer really needs. People like to be asked questions; it makes them feel as though their problems and concerns are genuinely important to someone else. This sharing of information helps sales people to solve problems for their customers, and solving problems leads to an increase in sales.


Sales reps who wait for their managers to direct them and tell them what to do aren’t going to perform very well. Of course, at the beginning of any new job it’s important to get direction from superiors and do things the right way, but too much dependence on supervisors and managers will lead to sluggish performance.

What you need are sales people who take initiative and make decisions within the boundaries set by your sales managers. They get up and go without waiting for direction, and they trust their own good ideas.

Follow-Up Skills

This trait often goes hand-in-hand with preparedness. Not only do great sales people prepare ahead of time, but they also take the time to follow up after a sales transaction is over. Good follow-up leads to upselling and referrals, not to mention great reviews and testimonials.

When you find these five traits in sales people, you can be sure they’ll be valuable members of your sales team. If you find that some members of your existing sales team are weak in any of these qualities, don’t worry. They can learn. Spend some time in your sales meetings teaching how to be more prepared, how to take initiative, and how to follow up with clients after a contact or sale. And, as always, be a good example yourself. If you need to develop one or more of these attributes, set a goal to improve your own skills. Developing these attributes in yourself will help you to become a mentor to the sales people you lead, and they’ll want to follow your good example.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.