Many sales managers prefer to hire candidates with no previous sales experience, sometimes directly out of college. These inexperienced candidates are like blank slates.
This assures the sales managers that their new recruits do not come with any bad sales habits from previous roles or companies.
These managers test and interview their candidates carefully for Drive, making sure that their new hires will have the passion necessary to succeed as a hunter or a farmer.
However, some sales managers occasionally make a critical mistake when deploying their new troops – one that can spell trouble for even the most motivated salespeople. Those sales managers put their new high-Drive salesperson on the phone or in their territory with minimal training, only to end up disappointed.
Do not fall into believing that as long as an inexperienced salesperson is high in Drive, they are a “natural” who will quickly adapt to the environment and start closing.
New salespeople, even those high in Drive, need some basic sales training before being deployed.
Even the Pros Need Training
Not training a new hire is a play setup for disaster. It would be like a football team drafting gifted athletes, not assigning them designated positions, not giving them any coaching and expecting them to win. Even veteran players are expected to participate in seasonal training and to continually push themselves to become better at their craft.
Just as a football team would never assume that athleticism and power alone will win the game, a good sales manager also knows that inexperienced salespeople need training to successfully prospect, persuade and close.
How to Train Your Dragon High-Drive Salesperson
No high-Drive salesperson likes to sit through weeks of training. They are typically itching for the chance to get out into the field. But, without basic training, an inexperienced salesperson will struggle, wanting to succeed, but not knowing exactly what to do.
They may eventually become frustrated and leave the company, causing tremendous disappointment and wasted potential – not to mention wasted money spent hiring them and lost by not utilizing them correctly.
So, whether it is through classroom training, ride-a-longs or a combination of both, make sure that your Driven but inexperienced sales hires get the knowledge and nurturing they need to succeed within your company.
Training an average person on the street would be an expense, but training a high-Drive candidate is an investment.
If you have already determined the level of Drive your new recruit possesses by administering a sales assessment test, you should have an idea of which type of salesperson they will likely be.
Results may show that they could best be used as a farmer, cultivating existing clients into repeat customers, or as a hunter, tracking down and closing new leads and clients. When building your training program you may want to design some separate strategies for training new hunters and new farmers.
General Tips for Sales Training
Create a mentor program.
Partner new recruits with your most successful veterans. Have your newest hires shadow and be mentored by more experienced hunters or farmers. This will allow your new hires to network within the company and to experience what the sales process is like within your industry.
Educate salespeople on products, services and maintenance.
Be sure that your salespeople are the go-to guides for basic information on your products, services and anything else the consumer may want to know.
If your sales team does not understand or appreciate what you have to offer, then how can they be expected to convince others of its value?
Educate salespeople on the competition.
The old saying is “know thy enemy” and it is still relevant in the sales world. Arming your new hires with information on the competition and how your company’s product or service outperforms theirs is critical in sales.
Educate salespeople on your target audience.
In order to sell effectively, your sales team needs to know to whom they should be selling. They need to know the basics about clients and potential leads in order to match them correctly with the right service or product.
Train salespeople to know the organization inside and out.
Sometimes clients want to know how the product is made, where it is made and by whom. Sometimes the client will ask about your company’s values and how they align with their own. Training salespeople to know how your organization is ran can be a valuable investment when faced with a challenging client.
Follow up on training.
Make sure that your new hire is progressing as time passes. If your newest sales rep is not performing up to your standards, it may be time to look at your training process to see what is and what is not working.
A helpful trick is to cross train new recruits for becoming both farmers and hunters. This allows the new hire to have an understanding of what is involved in both forming new leads and fostering relationships with existing clients.
Salespeople that are cross trained are more likely to have better working relationships with their partners across the company because they will have a better appreciation for what their counterparts’ do and the issues they may come across.
For example, a hunter that has been cross trained as a farmer will have a better understanding of what it takes to convert an existing client into a repeat buyer. With this knowledge, they are better equipped to help their farmer partner out by passing along helpful information about the new clients they bring on board.
“Drive” Comes in Many Forms
By now, you know that we would never recommend hiring anyone as a salesperson that did not have a high level of Drive, as verified by a sales aptitude test and a behavioral interview.
These objective assessment tools that accurately assess the Drive within a candidate are necessary because unfortunately, it is easy to fake Drive over the short term. Evaluating a person’s attitude and personality can reveal what kind of salesperson someone might potentially be.
However, stereotyping based on a first impression of someone can often produce inaccurate results.
For instance, the president of a fraternity, while perhaps a charismatic and budding leader, may be so naturally charming that he did not need Drive to make him a success in the social world.
However, hiring him based on his personality alone, and attributing that to Drive, will cause problems later down the road when he is floundering in the sales world and the actual qualities of Drive are found to be lacking in him.
In fact, instead of the charismatic president, it may very well be the young, quiet man cleaning dishes in the fraternity kitchen, as one of his three jobs as he pays his way through college, is the man you are looking for. He may have the intensity and Drive required to be an outstanding producer over time.
The truth is, Drive comes in many forms.
One of the biggest mistakes a sales manager can make is assuming that their entire sales team has the same type of personality. Another fatal mistake is assuming that one type of personality will lead a company to success.
Although there seems to be a general spectrum of personality traits that tend to produce the best salespeople, the most important trait being Drive, understanding that there are different ways to close a sale is essential.
Believing that only highly outspoken and exuberant people will succeed as salespeople is to leave out an entire group of people with other strong personality traits that can also succeed in sales.
The Core Trait: Drive
Having the three non-teachable personality traits of Drive can propel any type of person into a successful sales career. Drive is made up of Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism. A candidate displaying all of these personality traits on a sales aptitude test will allow you to avoid wasting your time and money on other candidates that do not have Drive.
By administering a sales aptitude test to your candidates before the interview process, you will achieve one main goal: determining which candidates, regardless of their other traits and previous experience, exhibit the qualities of Drive.
High-Drive candidates will have an intense desire to achieve excellence (Need for Achievement), will want to be number one amongst all peers and win the customer over every time (Competitiveness) and have the certainty that their success will always reign supreme (Optimism).
Additional Traits of a Successful Salesperson
There are several types of personalities that your sales team might have, besides the dominant and outgoing personality one might stereotype as characterizing a successful salesperson. In fact, many of these personalities demonstrate high levels of Drive.
The key though, amongst all of these personality traits, is that a high level of Drive must exist and can even outweigh the other traits. That is what makes a good salesperson and why administering a sales aptitude test to your potential candidates is such an important part of the sales hiring process.
Let’s take a look at some of the top personality traits quality salespeople demonstrate:
Empathy is a crucial trait to have when dealing with people on a daily basis. Being able to understand another person’s feelings, while not necessarily agreeing with them, is what being an empathetic person means.
Empathy is important because it allows the salesperson to see through the customer’s eyes. In doing so, the salesperson can identify the customer’s needs and make a sale based on those needs.
This quiet undertone of Competitiveness is Drive in action. The salesperson wants to win the customer over but in a subtle, understanding way. They also desire to meet the challenge of understanding a view they may not share while gaining a sale in the process.
An empathetic salesperson will feel Optimistic in their understanding of the customer’s views and know that the solution is to convince the customer to buy from them.
A good salesperson with empathy will have the ability to sense the customer’s reactions and feelings and then redirect accordingly to secure a sale. There will exist a real interaction between the salesperson and customer when empathy is shared. An interaction where the fluidity of the situation is not lost on a planned out sales approach.
Empathetic salespeople will be refreshing to the customer. They will be open-minded individuals that are understanding of other people’s views and will be able to place themselves in similar situations to pinpoint a solution for the customer in the form of a sale. They will listen intently to what the customer is asking for and then provide it.
Having the ability to identify with customers makes them feel at ease and comfortable with what your salespeople are selling. Understanding their concerns and gaining their trust will lead to long-lasting and healthy relationships with each customer.
If your sales candidates cannot listen and observe the customer on a deep level, they will not be able to experience what the customer is feeling and make an appropriate and individualized sale based solely on that customer’s needs. With empathy your sales candidates will adapt their sales approach accordingly and win the customer over.
Many people believe that those with high levels of Drive are naturally pushy. Although with some salespeople this may be true, this is not always the case.
The Harvard Business Review found that 91% of top salespeople had medium to high scores of humility and modesty on personality tests. This study also showed that those who are “full of bravado” often alienate and push away more customers than they win over.
If your top salesperson lacks modesty, and rubs success in the faces of the rest of your sales team, jealousy and hostility will often creep in, damage the team and spill over into customer interactions.
Good salespeople will put their customers and even sales team first so that a sale will be secured. This form of Competitiveness seems counterintuitive but will actually gain more sales in the long run. They will not boast or gloat about big sales that were secured as they know that overconfidence has the potential to not only kill one’s own attitude and lead to a decrease in sales, but affect the rest of the team as well.
A modest salesperson will feel Optimistic inside that success will come no matter the praise or recognition that is given for previous successes. They will revel in the idea of being the quiet underdog that actually supersedes all of the other salespeople.
Success speaks for itself. Working together as a team and letting success run its natural course is the better way of competing to win the customer over and is far more effective than trying to be the head honcho.
Your salesperson’s ability to communicate effectively and persuade customers to follow his lead is essential in the world of sales.
Not to be confused with manipulating a customer to do something they are uncomfortable with, rather, the art of persuasion is convincing someone to do what is in their best interest while benefiting yourself in the process. This does not include overly aggressive or eager sales pitches, a stereotype often linked to salespeople with persuasive personalities. No, being persuasive is much more than that.
Your salespeople must first understand the problem their customer faces and come prepared with adequate solutions in the form of sales. Persuasive salespeople can then provide a convincing solution in a context that shows the customer your solution is beneficial.
A good salesperson will expect resistance at first and welcome this challenge as the Drive within prepares him to win the customer over. A persuasive salesperson enjoys negotiating. Someone with a persuasive personality can easily move through the sale cycle from start to finish while overcoming an obstacle the customer may throw at them.
Sales skills are really just problem-solving skills.
A good salesperson will focus not on selling to a customer, but instead on simply solving a customer’s problem and remain Optimistic the sale will result in the end. Effective selling is all about identifying problems a customer is facing now or may face in the future, and creating solutions that are beneficial, cost-effective and convenient for the customer.
Having the leadership and Drive to seek out solutions and solve customer dilemmas is what will make a great salesperson stand out from the rest of the team. When facing the challenge of solving a customer’s problem a salesperson must: clearly identify the problem, analyze it, develop multiple solutions with variations and anticipate the customer’s potential reactions to these solutions.
Quick thinking and problem-solving skills are what it takes to make it in the industry of sales, especially complex solutions sales. There is no way of knowing which way a sale cycle will direct itself while interacting with a customer so being able to problem-solve and present the customer with an agreeable solution is one of the most effective skills in a salesperson’s arsenal.
How to Find High-Drive Salespeople
Consider adding a sales assessment test to your hiring process. SalesDrive offers The DriveTest® which measures the three key components of Drive: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism.
Our sales assessment also measures a candidate’s confidence, ability to persuade and build relationships, as well as their level of organizational skills.
SalesDrive then uses these measurements to determine the candidate’s level of Drive and whether they would succeed as either a hunter or a farmer.
To request a free trial of The DriveTest, please click here.