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SALES SKILLS CAN BE TAUGHT. It’s a myth that successful salespeople are born to sell. In reality, sales skills are learned, crafted and honed through years of practice. However, there are inherent personality traits that signal a sales professional is destined for greatness. When interviewing sales professionals, look for these traits. Everything else — closing skills, the ability to overcome objections, conducting an effective needs assessment — can be taught later.

  1. Determination: Having the ability to focus and pursue objectives with an inner sense of drive is essential in sales.
  2. Listening: High-performing sales professionals have extraordinary listening skills. Not only do they recognize the importance of encouraging a prospect to open up, but they also pick up on nonverbal cues. They are able to see where a prospect’s hesitation lies because they have strong intuition. During the interview, let the conversation fall silent to see how they handle it. If they scramble to fill the void, they aren’t for you.
  3. Financial motivation: The best sales professionals are typically motivated by money. If they ask financial questions in the preliminary interview, that’s a good sign.
  4. Preparation: Good salespeople embrace the importance of preparation. During your interview, double-check to make sure they did their homework. If they didn’t, move on to your next candidate. If they aren’t disciplined enough to prepare for a job interview, what are the odds they will prepare for every meeting with ideal prospects?
  5. Rapport: When the candidate walked into your office, did he establish a connection with you? Did he work to uncover a common interest? If he didn’t, he might not connect with prospects on a sales call either.
  6. Confidence: Top sales performers are unlikely to feel self-conscious about much on a sales call, or during an interview.
  7. Humility: Even though confidence is key, it has to be balanced with a sense of modesty. Without humility, prospects may think this sales professional is condescending to them, killing the deal.
  8. Achievement Oriented: Great salespeople like to exceed targets. Give them goals and the tools to achieve them, and then let them go.
  9. Moderate Friendliness: Top sales performers are not typically the most gregarious in the bunch. An extreme degree of friendliness may actually work against a sales professional that ought to be listening to prospects, patiently driving them toward a sale.
  10. Sense of Duty: Successful sales professionals have an unwavering sense of duty toward their work, and they love to generate results.

Hiring the right sales talent is perhaps the most challenging of all recruiting tasks, but it’s vital. There is an art to making the right choice, and even then, 50 percent of those you hire are likely not to work out. Improve your odds by making sure your top pick has all of these traits.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing