How To Find the Right Blend of Attitude and Skill in Your Next Salesperson

salesperson skills“Does the salesperson know our products well enough?”

That’s often the first question most businesses ask themselves when they’re interviewing a potential salesperson for their organization. However, it’s not quite a good idea. Putting too much emphasis on that question is also one of the biggest sources of high turnover and frustrated sales managers.   A successful way to prevent that kind of scenario and to attract sales people you can rely on long-term is to focus on the WHO rather than the WHAT as shown through the following questions: -Does the salesperson have enough willpower to speak to strangers? – Is the salesperson motivated enough to makes sales calls? –  Ultimately, does the salesperson have the right attitude?

The Right Attitude

When it comes to selling a product or service, attitude always comes first. It’s the most important part of a salesperson’s skill set. A salesperson has to be great with people. A lot of companies make the mistake of focusing so much on a salesperson’s knowledge of their own products or services that they forget to factor the salesperson’s people skills into their hiring decision.

How to Hire for Attitude AND Skill

You want to avoid making that mistake. There’s a hiring process that will help you weed out incompetent salespeople before you spend any time, energy, and thousands of dollars on training them. The main goal of the hiring process is to figure out whether or not the applicants have enough drive and willpower to be successful salespeople. You should include as many obstacles as possible to challenge them before you actually make the hire. The hiring process is made up of four different steps.

Test Them

The first thing you want to do is to get into the salesperson’s heads to uncover whether or not they would fit well into your company. We do that by making the applicants take aptitude or personality tests. We also have them undergo multiple interviews with other people in our organization to see how well they get along with everyone.

Check their LinkedIn Profiles

It’s paramount to any salesperson’s success that LinkedIn is part of his daily routine. That’s why you should always check each salesperson’s LinkedIn profile. If you see a LinkedIn profile with very few connections, the salesperson’s ability to network is questionable. It shows that the salesperson is not doing his job, because connecting with clients via LinkedIn is part of the process of selling a product or service. When you check a salesperson’s LinkedIn profile, you also want to really look at his recent activity to measure how solid his online presence is. If you have a salesperson telling you that he has a huge customer base, the first thing you want to do to verify that claim is to check his LinkedIn profile. Always remember that LinkedIn doesn’t lie.

Call Around

This is a tried-and-true method of uncovering a salesperson’s true colors. Don’t just call references; you should also call all the companies they have worked for in the past. Be sure to get the sales manager on the phone and ask questions to get feedback on whether or not the salesperson has the right attitude for the position you’re looking to fill. The following questions are good ways to begin:

  • How did they get along with teammates?
  • Did they do a good job hunting for business?
  • Were they a good closer?

Make Them Talk to Strangers

For all the salespeople that have made it this far, don’t hire them just yet! Take them for a test drive to see if they actually have the chops to push your products or services for a living. We test drive our applicants by putting them in situations to make them talk to strangers on the very first day of their trial week.

For example, we would have a salesperson walk into a small business, hand them our business card, and then explain how our product could help them. A good salesperson is not going to be afraid of walking into a business off the street and talking to a stranger. If we find out on the first day that the salesperson we’re test driving is scared to talk to strangers, we end the trial period, which will save us a lot of money.

We also have the salespeople reporting back to us at the end of the day with feedback on how their interactions went. That’s when we determine which ones are good for the job. At the end of the week, we have a clear idea on which salespeople are willing to do whatever it takes to go out there and sell. We then hire those hunters and start training them the following Monday.

By following these steps…

You’ll be able to build a team of highly-skilled salespeople with the right blend of attitude and skill. Such a team is what your company needs to go above and beyond!

Good hiring videos to watch…

CEO of Zappos

Harvard Business about Zappos

Steve Suggs

5 traits of good salespeople

salesperson skills