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Key Characteristics of a Sales Superstar

19 May 2021

Sales is a crucial function for any growing business and therefore it is important that, in placing your sales staff, you have a clear idea of what type of person you are looking for. There is no one-size-fits-all requirement here, as every business and sector is different. However what you can do is to think about which characteristics are non-negotiable when considering your ideal sales superstar, to elevate your sales return to the next level.

For myself and my businesses, there are 4 very important characteristics that I consider when hiring and these are elements that are all intended to ensure any new team member integrates into our organisation seamlessly.

Non-negotiable characteristics:

1. Coachability

What is it?

Someone open to learning, to listening to different ideas and willing to raising their game when required. Coachability is all about consistent self-development. They need to be open to taking on feedback and then using that to their advantage, to improve their methods and their output.

How to assess it

  • Question them on personal development
  • Ask them about their greatest success and failure
  • Scenario testing – on the spot assessment

2. Intelligence

What is it?

Along the same lines as the above but going that one step further. When I say intelligence I mean someone who will be able to pick things up and run with them, in the right direction. They should be quick to learn and intuitive to the needs of both potential clients and management alike. We do use a form of intelligence testing in our hiring process and if you’d like to hear a bit more about this, please get in touch as we would be happy to share.

How to assess it

  • IQ testing
  • Scenario testing
  • Numeracy testing
  • Consider their educational background

3. Track record of success

What is it?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to have won numerous awards. What I am referring to here is that they have shown the right level of success and ambition in their career so far, to demonstrate a certain quality of work. When you take a look at their career history, you should be able to see clear movement onwards and upwards, rather than a series of sideways moves. This will help you to understand what kind of mentality they have at work and about their work.

How to assess it

  • Ask specific questions based on previous experience – salary, bonus, role, line manager etc.

4. Work ethic

What is it?

A good work ethic is essential for bringing all of the above together. Without the right frame of mind, their intelligence and openness to learn will come to nothing. They need to be resilient and hard-working, to the extent that they are willing to put the extra effort in, being more focused on the outcome rather than how much time it takes.

How to assess it

  • Ask them to explain their typical workday
  • Ask for examples of when they have gone the extra mile
  • Ask moral dilemma questions

There are several other qualities that I could have listed here but again, these are just the key traits that I look for. There may be others that are more important to you and your business. You should have your own list in mind when you are going through that hiring process so that you can reflect accurately on each candidate and rank them on each of these non-negotiable characteristics to help in your decision making.

For more on hiring and retaining the right staff, you can read my post on making tough decisions for the benefit of the business and the direction you want to go in:

Read: Camels or Elephants? Making the right choice for your business

I hope this helped clarify the kinds of attributes you should be looking for when hiring your sales superstar. If you would like any help in simplifying or optimising your hiring process, please feel free to get in touch with us, we’d be more than happy to help.

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