5 Traits to Look for in Sales Hires

As published on The Huffington Post

 If you take away one thing from this article let it be that if the interviewee doesn't close in the interview, they won’t close a customer.

Every organization needs sales to keep revenue coming in and the lights on. The difficulty here is that, in many cases, the burden of hiring a sales rep is on someone outside of sales. What is the secret sauce? How do you know who is the right sales hire?

Sales hires fall into one of two categories:

  1. The 20% generating significant revenue 
  2. The 80% farm team

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So how do you know if this person is in the 20% of the 80/20 rule?

Here are 5 key traits and ways to look for them in the interview:


1. Affable: 

Is this person friendly and good-natured? The entire interview should feel like a positive experience for you, making you feel comfortable, understood and confident in their abilities.

If you don't enjoy talking to them, neither will your potential customers. Period.


2. Responsible:

Did they show up on time to your interview? Were they prepared? Before the interview this candidate should know your company back to front and be prepared to sell it on the spot.

If they were late or unprepared with you, do not expect anything different during a client consultation.


3. Challenging:

Not that they are frustrating, but rather are fluid in challenging potential clients' beliefs and systems to disrupt their processes and insert your company's solution. What questions did the interviewee ask about your company?

If they asked probing questions that demanded intimate insight and evaluation of the company, that is promising for sales conversion.


4. Loyal:

As the position with 2nd most turnover in an organization (after admins) it is important that your sales force is loyal to your organization. Does their resume read like a flight risk?

Did they badmouth a previous employer? Pretty likely they would do the same to you.


5. Intuitive:

Being able to read situations and understand the unsaid context is pure gold in sales because it allows for mirroring. Were you mirrored?

If an interviewee is using the same acronyms and jargon that you and your colleagues use, they have done their homework and read the situation well, translating to a sale (you hiring them).



Not every hire can be a high performer. Did they close you in the meeting? If not, simply do not hire them! Look for these characteristics and get expert advice on the best practices.  Don't worry, if they all suck you can always outsource your revenue engine.

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As published on The Huffington Post