October 2, 2018

Is your sales team underperforming? 

It can be difficult to realize you have hired someone who is not a good fit for your team.  However, just about every Sales Manager will experience this at some point.

This is the perfect time to get clear on which skills any new salespeople you hire should possess.  Some are innate while others are learned, but each one is crucial to your team’s success.

Assess Sales Skills Together

 

Non-Teachable Sales Skills

Assessing sales skills is a difficult task.

To complicate things even further, there are many essential sales skills you simply cannot teach.  They are traits that someone either has or they do not.

Look for the following unteachable skills when you are making your next hire.

 

Drive

Drive is that special “it” factor in sales – the grit and dogged determination that makes the most successful salespeople relentless in their quest for success.

Drive is an incredibly powerful skill, consisting of three distinct personality traits: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism.

 

Need for Achievement

This is the inner desire to reach even the most challenging goals.  As a person’s Need for Achievement grows, their motivation grows, too.

A robust record of accomplishments often showcases a candidate’s high Need to Achieve.

 

Competitiveness

Some people are born with an inner fire that makes them want to achieve more than anyone else and win each customer over.

Candidates with this level of innate Competitiveness can keep themselves going and persevere long after others have given up.  Your organization needs salespeople who go to great lengths to get an answer from each prospect and close every sale.

 

Optimism

Optimism is an undeniable certainty that if someone puts in the work and pursues a goal, a positive outcome is simply a matter of time.

Assessing Sales Skills

When assessing sales skills, Optimism is essential because in many ways, sales is a numbers game.  While there can certainly be lucky breaks that include a series of wins in a short amount of time, salespeople will often hear “no” many times before they finally reach a “yes.”

When salespeople lack this natural Optimism, they will begin to lose their fire.  Every negative interaction can chip away at their hopes of success and lead them to lose their vigor.

Do you really want to hire a salesperson who gives up too easily?

If not, make sure you are assessing sales skills like Optimism.

 

Resiliency

Life can be a little messy, and the world of sales often is, too.  Unexpected things happen.  As you know, there will be plenty of times when you are sure a customer is going to buy, but then they quickly change their mind.

Salespeople with the natural sales skill of resiliency can bounce back quickly, learn everything they can from their mistakes and grow from each challenge in the end.

 

Curiosity

Your company sells to a huge variety of customers, right?

No matter what you sell, you are likely part of a market that changes quickly, with ever-evolving products to meet customer needs.  When you hire a naturally-curious salesperson who wants to learn more about products, people and the solutions they need, you will have a valuable teammate who is able to adapt to all scenarios.

 

Teachable Sales Skills

Moving beyond the innate skills, you will also want to keep an eye out for the beginnings of skills you can teach, coach and further refine.  These skills include:

 

Confidence

This is simply the ability to freely express opinions or concerns while remaining on an even keel, despite inevitable rejection.  A salesperson with true confidence can even move into the role of trusted advisor who offers real value to clients.

 

Persuasiveness

Persuasive people love the process of selling, negotiating and changing others’ opinions.  Salespeople with a well-developed sense of persuasiveness are likable and can easily find common ground to help foster emotional bonds and shared objectives.

Truly persuasive salespeople make it clear they are on the customer’s side and know how to wait for the perfect time to ease into the sale.

 

Relationship Skills

When assessing the sales skills of your perspective salespeople, study their history of establishing and maintaining business relationships.

Saleswoman Assessing Sales Skills of Candidate

Are they good at reading a prospect’s emotions – or could they quickly learn how to master this skill?

Top-producing salespeople are highly skilled at reading interactions in a room and knowing when to take center stage and when to let other people have the floor.

Well-developed relationship skills involve not only talking but active listening, with a strict focus on asking intelligent follow-up questions.  Salespeople with strong relationship skills know their potential customers can tell if they are actively listening to them, rather than merely thinking through what to say next.

A great listener can also empathize with prospects to learn more about their needs and pain points. They then use that knowledge to sell more effectively and pinpoint better solutions.

 

Organization

When your salespeople know how to stay orderly, keep track of every task and avoid mistakes, they have more time to spend on high-gain selling activities.  Every moment spent retracing their steps because they are not organized are lost opportunities, and lost revenue.  This is why the skill of organization is so crucial.

A sales career means juggling many different tasks.  The most successful salespeople have mastered and incorporated organizational structures into their daily routines.

 

Problem-Solving

As you assess the sales skills of your potential hires, remember there are far more potential obstacles in sales than you could ever create training for.

Do not focus on finding new salespeople who can memorize every single thing they may need to do in their jobs.  Instead, search for those who can problem-solve on the spot.

A skilled problem-solver can either find or create an answer for any issue or customer concern that arises while making a sale.  The kind of salespeople you most need to hire will be energized by this part of their work, rather than frustrated by the think-on-their-feet effort it requires.

 

How to Assess for Essential Sales Skills

Identifying each of these critical skills in potential sales hires is a challenging task that can leave even the most-experienced Sales Managers feeling overwhelmed.  The DriveTest®, our sales hiring assessment, determines whether your candidates have the most critical personality trait needed for success in sales: Drive.

Take advantage of 80+ years of research and streamline your search for the right salespeople.  Determine which candidates possess Drive before they ever set foot in an interview.