A few months ago, I published a post with reasons why somebody might want to pursue a career in sales. But what if you’re on the other side of the process?


Perhaps you’re a recruiter looking to add to your sales team. What skills and characteristics should you look for in your next hire? While many think about the classic stereotypes of a salesperson as aggression and a lack of trustworthiness, these are not at all what a recruiter should look for. Here is a roundup of the top qualities in a successful salesperson, according to various articles on the subject:

Empathy. Understanding a customer and his or her needs is key to generating a lead. An article by the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA) emphasizes the importance of this trait and how to recognize it in a salesperson. When interviewing a candidate, look for strong listening skills, somebody who puts you “at ease” in your presence, and a sense of curiosity (do they ask questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer?).

Self-motivation. Ask yourself: does this person possess above-average willpower? How determined is he or she to succeed? This piece from Monster.com tells us, “…any sales person who is in attendance at a 7 a.m. business breakfast for purposes of networking is demonstrating, clearly, that they are motivated to succeed.”

As rewarding as a career in sales can be, it can also prove stressful and demanding. Without self-motivation and a determination, a salesperson cannot succeed. What sets your potential candidate apart from the rest?

Assertiveness (but not aggression). Business News Daily quotes Mark Stevens, CEO of MSCO: ”Great salespeople never look like they are selling anything. They are educating, instilling faith and confidence.”

This also connects back to that sense of empathy. Does the salesperson know how to listen? The ability to speak is important, but so is listening. Educating the customer is a two-way process, and the salesperson should know how to answer any questions the customer may have.

These are just a few of the traits a recruiter should search for. Other crucial characteristics are self-awareness, responsibility, and optimism. Stay tuned for the next blog post for specific tips on sales recruitment strategy!


By Kylie West

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