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Three Traits of a Great Sales Person…

Over the last 25 years, I have personally hired hundreds of salespeople and interviewed thousands. I’ve managed teams of three to over one-hundred. When I first started hiring salespeople, I was often surprised. The people I thought would do well often didn’t and those that I reluctantly gave the job surprised me with their results.

I’ve learned a lot over the years, probably enough to write a book. But without writing a book, there are a few things I’ve learned that come to mind.

The number one trait I look for is someone with a burning internal drive and a passion for succeeding. If they do not have a self-motivating fire in their belly, they will never be a great salesperson. Period!

Another trait I don’t look for is good looks and charisma. Don’t get me wrong, if you can find a salesperson with those traits that can sell, that’s a bonus. I’ve learned that top performing salespeople come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments.

One of the top performers I once hired looked like Chris Farley from the movie “Tommy Boy.” He was somewhat disheveled, his suit never fit properly and always looked like he needed to comb his hair. When I hired him he didn’t know our industry, but I quickly figured out he knew how to sell during the interview process. I gave him a shot, and within the first year, he became my number one salesperson out of a team of 25. He had an internal drive, hated to lose and if he didn’t know something he figured it out by hook or by crook.

The third trait I’ve accepted is that I will not find a salesperson with strong administration skills. I’ve never had a top performing salesperson that liked paperwork or routine. For years I fought the notion that great salespeople are not great at administrative work and then accepted “if you can’t beat em, join em” and let them do what they do best, which is to close business! Then I put a team in place to assist them with the administrative work.

So, there you have three of my top learnings.

  1. Hire those with a burning desire to succeed and have passion and drive.
  2. Don’t hire solely on appearance, charisma, and storytelling.
  3. The best salespeople are often the worst administrators.

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful. I got a few grey hairs learning each of them.

Author: Bryan Payne the Chief Talent Scout and Partner at Just Sales Jobs. With over 25-years experience in sales and leading high-performance sales teams. You can reach him at bp@justsalesjobs.com 

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