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Finding Good Salespeople in a Tough Market

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Today’s tough job market challenges companies to find good salespeople to staff their companies. However, you can still find star employees with the right tactics for navigating a challenging job market. 

In this post, we will walk you through what qualities to look for in superstar salespeople, where and how to find them and finally, how to hire them. Let’s get started.

Why Can’t I Find Good Salespeople?

Finding good salespeople in a tough market is a challenging process. As minimum wages increase nationally and internationally to match the higher standard of living due to inflation, companies must hire fewer workers than usual to maintain their profits. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also put a damper on the job market as well. People may still be hesitant to go to work for fear of infection.

Since salespeople usually work in-person jobs, this can be detrimental to some companies because some job seekers are preferring remote work over traditional positions. But, not all sales positions can convert to remote equivalents. 

Sure, you can sell insurance over the phone, but it is almost impossible to try to sell a piece of manufacturing equipment over the phone. The salesperson and buyer must be present to verbally highlight product features to the client to decide if it is a good fit for them or not. 

Salespeople are in the service occupation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5% of people in service occupations teleworked in 2020. The nature of the in-person one-on-one dynamic between a salesperson and a client is crucial, which is why fewer people in this position went remote during the pandemic. 

What Are the Three Qualities Salespeople Must Have?

At SalesDrive we believe, and our research supports, that the following characteristics are critical for success in sales.

  1. Need for achievement: a salesperson’s intense desire for becoming even more successful and achieving their most challenging goals. 
  2. Competitiveness: without an authentic hunger to outperform their peers, a salesperson will have a difficult time in any industry. 
  3. Optimism: a salesperson that shows resiliency, passion and an impenetrable mindset during even the most difficult times is more likely to become successful in their field.

These 3 traits are not something that can be taught, which is why we developed our sales assessment to help you find the high-performance candidates you need in order to increase new business development and revenue. 

Other important skills that a successful salesperson needs are:

  1. Confidence: someone with the ability to be honest, open and find ways to continue selling even in tough situations.
  2. Persuasiveness: a successful salesperson needs to understand how to utilize persuasion in order to create more interest in what they’re trying to sell.
  3. Relationship skills: being able to create rapport and build relationships over time is very important.
  4. Organization: an unorganized salesperson cannot be successful if they cannot keep track of what’s important. 

How To Find Good Salespeople

Finding good salespeople can be done on different online platforms. Consider LinkedIn, Indeed, and Jobs on Facebook to scout for new talent. Or network with your customers to find local talent as an alternative to searching online platforms. 


Be sure your company has an account on LinkedIn – this is the top platform that job seekers flock to so they can edit their professional profiles and reach out to companies for job opportunities. 

On LinkedIn, take time to write your company description as well as your vision and mission statements. When job seekers find your company page, they will see your salesperson jobs posted and apply if they are interested. 

The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can reach out to potential salespeople based on their qualifications and experience when you perform LinkedIn searches for professionals. You can directly message professionals to invite them to apply to your salesperson job. 


Indeed is the best online job platform because of the higher availability of jobs than LinkedIn and other job-hunting websites. There are great beginning rates for employers looking to post jobs. 

Like LinkedIn, Indeed matches job professionals to listings based on the qualifications they list in their resumes. You can also browse Indeed job seeker profiles and directly message them on their Indeed account to invite them to apply for your job. You can try this tactic if you see that professionals are not naturally flocking to apply to your job post. 

Jobs on Facebook

According to a study conducted in April 2022, there are 1.96 billion daily users on Facebook. Posting your company’s sales job on Facebook is bound to get you many applications because people utilize Facebook for more than just browsing reels and connecting with family and friends. 

The added advantage of advertising your salesperson job on Facebook is that you get to evaluate the job applicant’s Facebook profile to see their personality. Do they have pictures posted of them getting drunk and partying every three days or do they have pictures of them and their family with statuses talking about their aspirations in life? Someone’s Facebook profile says a lot about them and their priorities.

Network With Customers

As an alternative to job boards, ask existing customers if they know anyone with sales experience who is looking for a new job. Give these customers your business card to pass along to any potential salesperson. 

For a more digital approach, send an email to your customers with a link to the job posting. This will make it easier for your customers to forward to people they know that are looking for a job. 

Where To Find Good Salespeople 

There is more than one place to find good salespeople. While receiving applications from the job board websites in which you post your company’s jobs does help, there are other locations you can visit for finding good salespeople:

  • Retail stores. 
  • College job fairs. 
  • Happy hour events at local restaurants. 
  • Tradeshows and conferences related to the sales industry. 

Get creative in where you look for sales candidates. Oftentimes, passive candidates – those who are not actively looking for a new role – can be preferred over active job seekers. If a candidate has been looking for a sales position for a while, there may be a good reason why they have not landed a job yet. 

Finding Good Salespeople in a Tough Market

How To Hire Salespeople 

Finding good salespeople in a tough market can be difficult when it comes to the hiring process, especially if you are not receiving as many applications as you thought you would. There are still ways that you can effectively hire salespeople even in today’s tough job market. 

Write a Thorough Job Description

Hire salespeople by forming a well-written job description. While the description should highlight some key elements, you also want to ensure it attracts the right kind of applicant and stands out from the crowd. Some things to include: 

  • A few sentences describing your company. Use bold, exciting language.
  • The official job title for the sales position your company has available. 
  • Responsibilities for the job. Be specific. 
  • Qualifications, such as job skills and educational background, needed.
  • Annual and/or hourly salary information. 
  • Link for official job application, if applicable. 

If you are looking for a top-performing salesperson, the tone of your job ad should match and be written to attract these unique people. For detailed guidance for writing job ads that standout in the sea of online job postings and attract top performers, check out our course: Writing a Job Ad that Attracts Top Salespeople

Reach Out To Potential Talent

Just because your job is not netting as many applicants as you hoped for does not mean that you have failed at finding reputable talent. As mentioned, oftentimes passive candidates can be great assets to pursue. Use one of the three platforms above, whether Jobs on Facebook, Indeed, or LinkedIn to reach out to job seekers based on their sales qualifications. 

Personalize the message for more potential engagement. You do not want to make the message sound like it is automated or copied and pasted and sent to other job seekers. You can personalize a message by saying something like:

Good afternoon, Stacy Stuart,

My name is Amanda Ridley and I am the Owner/Operator of Ridley Ribbons. We are looking for a Full-Time Salesperson to staff our store, and I see you have three years of sales experience in a similar role. I would like to invite you to apply to our available job position at the link below. Send me a message or call us at 555-123-4567 if you have any other questions.

Identifying and Selecting Top Applicants 

Once you have received a satisfying number of applications, it is time to filter through them to find the top 10-15 candidates. 

An optional step that many companies include is a phone screening. For more information on our recommended questions to use in a phone screening and how long it should last, check out our course: The Sales Manager’s Guide to Phone Interviews.

Whether you include a phone screening or not, you should always use a scientific, data-driven and unbiased approach to identify who of your candidates have the critical traits needed for success in sales (noted above). 

To do this apply a sales-specific assessment that measures such traits. The results will allow you to understand your candidates’ true potential while avoiding underperformers, who may promise the world but do not have what it takes to live up to those expectations. Think of the results as a consumer report. The assessment is not the end all be all, but it might just tell you “buyer beware,” which is valuable information to have before hiring a salesperson.

Schedule Interviews for the Top Applicants

After administering the assessment, you will have the data to make smart and sound decisions on who to move forward with in your interview. The assessment will weed out candidates that do not have what it takes to thrive in the tough world of sales and will save you time and money by helping you avoid bad hires. 

When you have identified a few candidates who have the critical traits for success in sales and who might fit your company culture and open position well, it is time to schedule your interviews. Consider scheduling them over a few days. Have each interview last around 60 minutes so you can get to know each candidate thoroughly. 

Plan out your interviews in advance and be sure to ask behavioral interview questions because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Using a structured interview process like The Drive Interview® will allow you to “look under the hood” of your candidates, dig deeper into their skills and uncover their true intentions.

Final Thoughts on Finding Good Salespeople 

Finding salespeople in a tough market is all about having a strong hiring process in place. Knowing where to look, how to engage, follow-up, and communicate with potential salespeople is key. It is possible to still find good talent even in a tough market as long as you are strategic in your approach. 

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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