The hiring decisions you make can impact the future trajectory of your start-up. While a good hire can be a catalyst for success, a poor hire can slow – and even stall – company growth.
This is particularly relevant for sales hiring. Sourcing top sales talent is essential to scale a business. The challenge is how to surface top sales performers and prevent poor hiring decisions.
There are a few universal characteristics that set top sales talent apart from the crowd. Identifying these qualities in a sales candidate will determine whether they’ll flourish or flounder when tasked to keep up with the demands of their job…
- Resourcefulness -
Bradford Smart refers to resourcefulness as a meta-competency, meaning a composite of many different qualities. A unique blend of intelligence, imagination, drive and adaptability, it’s the single most important characteristic to look for in a sales hire.
Someone who demonstrates resourcefulness looks adversity in the eye and jumps through rings of fire to achieve their desired result. Yes, it’s a skill that can be taught. But the most effective leaders are innately scrappy and tenacious when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Why is resourcefulness such a valuable skill to have on your sales team?
- Salespeople who exhibit resourcefulness…
- Make do with what they have
- Dare to make bold moves
- Focus on opportunities rather than constraints
- Anticipate unexpected roadblocks and develop alternative plans
- Think critically and strategically when solving a problem
- Leverage outside resources, experiences and ideas to achieve their goal
- Empathy -
Empathy is essential to developing a relationship, whether personally or professionally. Built on a foundation of trust, it’s the ability to share in another person’s emotional experience.
This is particularly valuable in sales. A good salesperson has the capacity to listen to other perspectives and feel the pain they are solving for (i.e. “I know you’ve been dealing with xyz and I have an idea that might help you out…”). By recognizing how another person is feeling, they can step outside of themselves and anticipate the needs of others.
Why is empathy such a valuable skill to have on your sales team?
Salespeople who exhibit empathy…
- Adjust their pitch and pace to suit their audience (vs. being bound by a prepared sales track)
- Make their prospects feel heard and understood
- Create deeper, more meaningful professional relationships
- Ask the type of questions that lead to breakthrough insights and ideas
- Persuasion -
When used constructively, persuasion is a powerful tool to achieve a desired outcome. Although commonly seen as a form of manipulation and deceit, effective persuasion is simply leading someone to a shared solution.
Persuasiveness is not an easy skill to acquire in a sales environment. It’s a process that requires carefully framed arguments, the presentation of supporting evidence and artful negotiation. The most successful persuaders are masters of their craft – achieving a balance between subtlety and assertion, logic and intuition, preparedness and spontaneity.
Why is persuasion such a valuable skill to have on your sales team?
- Salespeople who exhibit persuasion…
- Are strategic thinkers who understand the complexities of negotiation
- Use stories and data to tell a compelling story
- Continually test and refine their argument and ideas to address the needs and concerns of others
- Know how and when to compromise
- Have the power to galvanize change