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Sales' Open Season: Desirable Skills You Want In Your New Hires


The weeks of college spring break have come and gone and next up for these future college graduates will be getting a job and entering the cut-throat real world.  Most grads will leave school with a great deal of inherited debt, with much thanks to Sallie Mae, and assumedly most of these people should be hungry to make money and put in the necessary work to secure and hold a steady job.  Regardless, if you are looking into this crop of potential new hires or looking into young professionals with some experience, you still want to key in on the same intangibles when interviewing and hiring.  What you really want to find out is, “Do they want THIS job” or “Do they just want A job”?Sales Interviewing, Sales Talent, Inside Sales, 3 26 Ricca

These are the traits I look for when determining if someone is a good fit for our team:

High Energy and Enthusiasm – First impressions are hard to break, so during their interview I consciously gauge their tone and manner when discussing the job opening.   Were they just energetic for the first half and then tail off towards the end with disinterest.  A consistent and upbeat energy level is crucial in a sales role because it requires all interaction to be done over the phone and their voice and tone when speaking to a prospect/client is the only means by which they will be judged.  Internally, it boosts morale and helps avoid a flow of negative behavior that can easily be spread amongst co-workers.

Eager and Inquisitive – I love when employees ask a lot of questions and show a desire to learn new things.  I know they have a great chance at being successful since it affirms they don’t want to become content.   When speaking with prospects it is essential that these employees are conversational and not robotic so they can ask engaging questions that discover the pains and needs, as well as the compelling event for why they need to speak with a sales rep.  

This skill is also important when an employee is going through training as you want someone who strives for clarification so that they can better process what they are being taught.  It also demonstrates their level of engagement in the training process.

Resourcefulness – There’s always dead ends to be had in sales so it’s good to have a new hire that understands the importance of being resourceful – it’s a means to find new avenues of entry or a way to uncover new contacts to call.  With the influx of technology and LinkedIn there are so many ways to find useful information about your accounts as well as find brand new prospects who match your target titles.  The hunt doesn’t end just because an admin won’t let you through or if the three contacts you have never responded.

Work Ethic and Attitude - I look for people who want to take ownership of their work and almost view themselves as the “CEO” of their accounts.  Even if sales is not their true passion, it’s so important to know that you have to build up your work ethic so you can be successful; nothing is handed to you in the professional world, it’s all earned by making good things happen and not waiting for the good things to fall in your lap.  If there’s something missing, I want them to come to me proactively and explain what additional things they need in order to hit their goals.

Active Listening – Sales reps that talk way too much tend to always over-sell and under-perform and I respect the aggressiveness, but I really want my sales reps to empathize and practice reciprocation with their prospects.  Active listeners will always have the best information associated with their leads and that increases the chances their leads will turn into qualified, active sales opportunities in hopes of closing.  Being an effective listener is also crucial in terms of digesting criticism and advice from colleagues so they become better at what they’re doing.

There are definitely other things I look for when looking to hire new sales reps but I find these 5 traits always remain consistent with me. Let me know in the comment section below any other important traits you look for when hiring new sales talent.


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