Whether you want to hire new salespeople for your company, or want to improve your current sales team, one of the most important things you can do as a sales manager is determine what it is you are looking for in your ideal salesperson.
There are a number of qualities that a promising sales rep should have. From the ability to listen, to organization skills and so much more, but being a superstar salesperson takes a certain type of personality.
So, how do you know if you have found the right person?
Focus your attention on searching for a candidate who has the most important innate characteristic in sales: Drive.
What is Drive?
Drive is a critical component of a successful salesperson’s personality mix. Drive is what internally pushes someone to succeed.
But here is the catch, Drive cannot be taught — despite what motivational speakers would like you to believe. Hunter salespeople need to have Drive, before training can really have an impact.
And make no mistake, Driven salespeople and disruptive salespeople are not the same thing. In fact, high-Drive people have a complete spectrum of overall personalities, they can be introverts or extroverts, funny or serious, charismatic or shy. But Driven people of all types do share a common need to push themselves and to keep setting their goals higher and higher.
If someone is too obnoxious or over the top in an interview, those are different traits that you will just have to decide whether they fit into the chemistry of the team you are building.
Drive is made up of three specific non-teachable characteristics:
1. Need for Achievement
Need for Achievement is vital for your salesperson to have because it represents the never-ending desire to pursue excellence for its own sake. These salespeople will set the bar high and jump over it again and again. They are never satisfied being idle. They must always be trying to achieve something.
The desire to be competitive is what keeps high-Drive salespeople in the game. High-Drive salespeople love to win and hate to lose. They believe that if they do not get to that call first and close the deal, someone else will. They also like to “compete” with the buyer as a friendly contest of wills, with the sale being the winning moment.
A salesperson who is optimistic is a must. Why? Because the truth is most sales calls end in rejection.
Without optimism as a personality trait, a salesperson who faces regular rejection will begin to take such rejection personally. Optimistic salespeople, however, will see the lost sale as just part of the game.
Additionally, optimists will see a missed sale as a means of getting them one step closer to their next success — because that is the way percentages in the sales world work.
Rather than focusing on the downside of being rejected on four calls in a row, high-Drive salespeople will forge on and make the next call because, chances are good, that call will be a success.
When the three above traits are combined − Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism − you get the ultimate trifecta of Drive.
This Drive will allow your salesperson to not only excel in sales, but to sustain that excellence despite the competition and rejection that surrounds them. Without Drive, the salesperson will eventually fail.
Why is a Sales Personality Test Needed to Assess Drive?
With all the information that exists in books and on the internet today about how to be charming in an interview, how to win over the hiring manager, how to talk your way into getting hired and more, it can be easy for sales candidates to fake Drive during an interview.
Plenty of salespeople can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?
A sales personality test will reveal the truth.
This type of test will help you, as a sales manager, objectively identify and hire salespeople who have the greatest potential for long-term sales success.
The DriveTest® is a great way to integrate a well-developed sales assessment into your interview process. Quality is absolutely key when it comes to an assessment.
You can tell whether a sales personality test is high quality, like The DriveTest®, by looking out for three factors:
- Standardization. The way that the candidate is tested for the desired qualities of Drive (Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism) should be the same across the board, for all potential candidates.
- Validity. Does the test measure what it claims to measure? The sales assessment you choose to use must test exactly what you are looking for in your candidate: Drive.
- Difficulty. Many tests are far too easy for salespeople to size up and figure out what the hiring manager is looking for in an answer. Be sure to use an assessment that offers a much more difficult format like “Forced-Choice” questions. Forced-Choice questions requires candidates to choose which statement is most like them and which is least like them from three equally positive statements. This forces your candidates to make some real distinctions and makes it much more difficult to fake.
The Benefits of a Sales Personality Test
There are a number of reasons you stand to benefit from giving a sales personality test to your potential hires as well as your current salespeople.
A few benefits include:
Selecting Qualified Candidates
By testing your candidates for Drive, as well as a number of other important skills, you will be able to ensure you are putting the right candidate in the right position. You will save yourself and your company a great deal of time and money by using The DriveTest® to make accurate hiring choices.
Facilitating a Successful Onboarding Process
With a sales personality test, you will determine what your new hire’s needs are when it comes to training. Thus, you can cater to those specific needs in order to make the on-boarding process quick and successful for each and every new salesperson.
Strengthening Your Sales Team
When you assess your salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses, you are opening up the door to allow them not only to develop as an individual with the results, but also as part of a team. Once you know the areas in which they excel versus the ones in which they struggle, you can consider teaming them up with colleagues who will increase their chances for success and focus training and development where it is needed the most.
The amount of money hiring the wrong person can cost a company will likely blow you away. However, you take the risk out of putting that money on the line when you implement a sales personality test into your hiring process.
The Next Step After Using a Sales Personality Test
After starting your sales hiring process out with a personality test that measures Drive, the next thing to do is back up that assessment with a Drive-focused behavioral interview.
Remember, the assessment is designed to weed out potential salespeople who do not have the core aptitude to sustain high performance over time. So, you can have confidence in knowing that you are now ready to interview only high-potential salespeople.
Dig deeper during the interview with behavioral interview questions to better understand your candidate’s true intentions.
Here are a few questions:
“When was the last time you met a really tough goal? How did you do it? Give me details.”
You are looking for the ability to sustain Drive toward achievement. Pay attention to the details. For example, if the candidate says, “I ran a marathon,” find out how they trained, how long it took to prepare and did they finish?
“Tell me about a time everyone thought you were wrong about something but you persevered anyway and the outcome was successful.”
You are looking for strong self-belief and dedication to achieve no matter what.
“Are you competitive? Why?”
You are looking for how the candidate expresses their feelings about competition – how it excites them and, often, how much they hate losing.
We have put together an entire behavioral interviewing course that includes our complete behavioral interview guide, but the main point is, it would be nice if “actors” who promised the world in the interview could sustain their performances and sell well over time, but they can’t – and they don’t.
If you are looking to find your ideal salespeople without wasting time and money, then look no further than The DriveTest®. This scientifically-proven sales personality test is the only one that focuses heavily on testing for the number one most important characteristic in your salespeople: Drive.
To start assessing your sales candidates & sales team today, sign up for a FREE trial of The DriveTest®.