How to identify qualities of top sales representatives

How to identify qualities of top sales representatives

With the world of business changing rapidly with each passing year, finding qualified sales representatives with the flexibility to adapt to new processes and technologies is a challenge. Nevertheless, the interview remains a key tool for identifying top candidates.

Look for candidates who exhibit perseverance in the face of adversity

Sales representatives hear the word "no" dozens of times every day, yet they are expected to keep moving forward. Competent salespeople don't take these rejections personally, but view them as a part of the job. During the hiring process, managers should look for qualified candidates who have shown in their prior work that they are not easily discouraged.

Fast Company reported that highly persistent people exhibit qualities such as a the ability to commit to lifelong learning. Individuals who show this trait realize that they do not know everything and they need to continuously learn new skills and ways of problem solving. Hiring managers can test for these skills by asking candidates to describe a time when they failed to close a deal due to lack of perseverance. Qualified candidates will exhibit the ability to reflect on past mistakes and describe the lessons they took away from those experiences.

Identify candidates who can adapt to new processes

There are very few organizations that can look back on the past five years and see that nothing has changed in terms of processes, technology adoption and corporate strategy. These days, companies have to be flexible and responsive to succeed. This concept is important to consider during the hiring process, because there's a good chance that new hires will need to adapt to many changes over the course of their tenure.

According to a report from ManpowerGroup, 91 percent of HR managers believe new recruits will be hired based on their ability to deal with market uncertainty and changes to corporate policy. To identify this trait during the interview, hiring managers should ask candidates to describe a time they needed to break out of an existing process, pattern or habit in favor of a new paradigm. Candidates that can remain focused during times of change are much more likely to success than those who cannot keep up.

two people talking during an interviewTop candidates exhibit the ability to adapt to new processes and technologies.

Watch each candidate's body language during the interview

Sales representatives must be good at building relationships quickly. This trait is relatively easy to judge during the interview process, compared with more technical skills. Hiring managers simply need to assess their own feelings about each candidate. Was the interviewee personable? Did the prospect make everyone in the room feel comfortable? These are key questions to pose when considering between multiple qualified candidates.

Speaker and training expert Dan O'Connor noted that good listeners exhibit specific body language. Examples include good eye contact, nodding and uncrossed arms. Tight body language, such as folding of the arms may indicate that the candidate feels uncomfortable, which could be a warning sign.

Give new hires time to grow in the position

Even experienced hires need time to ramp up. Hiring managers should check in with recent recruits to learn how they're settling into the position. Asking about what's challenging them is a good way to determine if they require additional training.

Finding and hiring sales people doesn't have to be a shot in the dark. At EBC Associates, we have a particular strong track record of hiring top sales talent. Speak with an EBC Associates consultant today.