Guest Post by Jeremy Cunningham
Most sales jobs deal primarily with numbers and data, but personality is an undervalued attribute. An efficient sales team blends together complimentary personalities that play to each others’ strengths. There is no hard-and-fast archetype for a successful salesperson, but certain traits enable these professionals to close deals and succeed in high-pressure situations. As you grow your sales team, look for personality characteristics that lend themselves to effective sales tactics, from curiosity to modesty to team spirit.
The search for talent takes businesses from job fairs to industry conventions to Linkedin profiles. To find the right personalities, project the right personality of your company. Whether you promote a strong social media presence or “wow” prospects with your presentation display at a conference, the work you put into recruiting will come back around in the form of good talent. Keep an eye out for these traits when you start the interview process.
Sales can be a thankless grind filled with rejection and disappointment. It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re struggling to close deals, and the undetermined professionals can lose their spark. Strong determination gives salespeople the will to carry on even when things get tough. Determined salespeople are less likely to let potential sales off the hook. Sometimes this persistence looks overbearing or unfriendly, but that type of behavior is common in successful salespeople. The Harvard Business Review reported that top salespeople have a 30 percent lower preference for friendliness than average performers. Being a people person is great, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to sales. Fill your team with determined workers and you’ll see the bottom line grow.
Some imagine the average salesperson as a brash, overconfident know-it-all. Maybe you’ve run across that type in your industry, but chances are they didn’t last long. Successful salespeople know their shortcomings, and they flaunt their strengths. The same Harvard Business Review article noted the 91 percent of the top salespeople had medium to high modesty and humility scores. A salesman who talks down to you doesn’t evoke confidence, it makes you want to hang up the phone. Salespeople should speak with conviction but admit that they don’t have all the answers. If a potential employee isn’t able to speak honestly about his weaknesses in an interview, he probably won’t project modesty with potential clients.
Willingness to Learn
As you grow, your business will be able to attract better talent. Established sales people bring ability, experience and a wealth of information, but they can always get better. As you hire experienced talent, get a feel for prospects’ willingness to learn. Not only will information-hungry employees continue to grow, they’ll also set an example of curiosity for less experienced salespeople. The result is an always-growing team that doesn’t rest on its laurels. Sales will follow.
Individual goals and performance-based pay structures turn sales into an individual task. These benchmarks drive sales and motivate employees, but they aren’t always beneficial. Individual goals put up walls between employees, turning a team against itself. Team-oriented personalities are able to handle these individual goals without losing sight of the bigger picture. With team-first employees, your business will benefit from a boost in morale and collaboration, two office characteristics that lead to higher performance.