Sales managers often look for candidates with an athletic background, particularly when candidates have limited sales experience. A former football or basketball player is likely high in competitiveness, the reasoning goes, and would therefore perform well in sales. Although competitiveness is a critical element of Drive, sales managers need to be careful when interviewing former athletes. Here is why . . .
We need to ask ourselves an important question . . . Was the sales candidate’s athletic success because of his initiative only, or did he have a coach pushing him to get out and practice each day?
If your candidate was, in fact, pushing himself out of his own personal initiative, that is, of course, a great indicator of need for achievement, another key element of Drive. However, many athletes, while very skilled, rely on a coach or mentor to push them to succeed. In such a case, you would be better off with the non-athlete who worked a few jobs to put himself/herself through school and also strived to do well academically.
Although a sports background can indicate competitiveness, we still need to vet for need for achievement and optimism to be sure he/she will have the desire for excellence and resilience necessary for success in new account acquisition.
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of “Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again” and developers of the proprietary and patented sales test, The DriveTest™, for Sales Candidates. For more information, click here.
Share these ideas with colleagues and friends . . .