The Art of Good Sales Selection

Everyone knows that having effective sales people is critical to business success. There’s no doubt high performing salespeople are more likely to help you make quantum leaps in your business. Therefore, sales selection is vital to any organization.

What does an effective salesperson look like?

So the questions are,  “What are the characteristics of a high performing salesperson?”  And once you determine what those characteristics are for your company, “how do you find them?”  Let us try and answer some of these important questions.


Top 10 Characteristics of a Good Salesperson


1.  Affinity For People

A good salesperson should be able to connect with people quickly and positively. This isn’t just the gift of gab but also the ability to understand the problem, speak to the problem and make the person they are speaking with feel at ease.

2.  Action Orientation

The best salespeople tend to have high-energy, are assertive and have a get it done mentality.

3.  Results Oriented

When doing your sales selection, if the candidate doesn’t have a results oriented mindset then they probably aren’t a good salesperson. Being driven to achieve sales goals should be a must not just for the company but also for the salesperson. High-performing salespeople have a never-ending need to satisfy their need for results.

4.  Goal Driven

Similar to results, being goal driven is a must need attribute of a good sales person. You want someone who wants to win, wants to compete and wants to reach their goal.

5.  Pride of Ownership

Another good characteristic of a good salesperson is someone who takes pride in what they do. They should represent themselves and the company with great care. They should be determined to make sure the new client they sold has a good experience and will therefore be a potential reference in the future.

6.  Well Organized 

Yes, there are good salespeople who are scatterbrained. However, every good salesperson has a method to their madness which allows them to orchestrate their process in a methodical manner. This process will allow them to not let things fall through the cracks and keep every part of their sales funnel up to date. Without a well thought out process and consistent organized approach – sales can be challenging.

7.  Pay Attention to Detail

Sales selection should include understanding the sales candidates ability to keep the details correct. Examples include: Good note-taking, ability to listen to prospects and understand their problems, reviewing proposals until they are accurate, etc.

8.  Have a High Degree of Integrity

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to hire a salesperson who is setting inappropriate expectations or conducting themselves in a manner that will leave a bad taste in a prospects mouth. When this mistake is made, it can leave a lasting negative DING on the company’s reputation with the potential of that being shared as an online REVIEW.

9.  Are Tenacious

Tenacity is a must. You want someone who can get a NO and not spend one second on second guessing themselves or getting upset. A good salesperson will persevere and overcome any obstacle in their way and do it with a smile on their face.

10. Are Willing and Able to Learn

Today’s salespeople must be able to learn and understand how to use any number of different sales tools available. They must be able to adapt to these new selling environments that change almost daily. Prospects are using new platforms all the time and want to be communicated with differently. If is incumbent upon the salesperson to adapt and learn these new platforms. It also makes sense for salespeople to fine tune their craft with any education that will make them better communicate with their prospects.

How to Acquire Good Salespeople

So now that we’ve identified some needed characteristics for effective salespeople, how do we acquire them?  No competitor can hurt you more than you selecting the wrong people.  What does selecting the right people really do for you?  Selecting the right people will:

    • Increase your market visibility
    • Strengthen your company
    • Assist in the retention of existing salespeople
    • Increase your bottom line
    • Increase your competitive advantage
    • Put more dollars in your pocket
    • Drive new growth and capture market share

How do you make better “hiring” decisions?

1. Improve your processes

2. Streamline your systems

3. Utilize technology

4. Utilize “good information” regarding all aspects of an individual

Proven, time tested, scientific, validated assessments are a critical factor to making sure you hire the right people.  While many interviewers think they know within the first 5 minutes whether a candidate will be successful or not, they are wrong.  Both scientific research and the legal system have proven over the years that most interviews are relatively ineffective at predicting performance on the job.  In our next blog, I will discuss the different types of assessments that have proven to be successful for predicting the future performance of sales people.  In the meantime see our previous blog on 7 Key Criteria for a Successful Sales Assessment.

Related Resource: Best Hiring Practices

This blog has been updated and was originally published Feb 23, 2015