Over the years I’ve been a part of countless discussions centering on what should be most heavily sought after in candidates for sales roles. I’ve found that those who posses all three of the below characteristics nearly always make effective sellers:
1.) Exemplary work ethic. In my opinion, this is the single most important element of a great salesperson’s DNA. I know some will disagree, but “work smart, not hard” is nonsense as far as I’m concerned. I’d like to think that the best work hard and smart – and in that order. All the AI and predictive technology in the world will never mean that the harder-working of two similarly equipped salespeople will come in second.
2.) High level of natural intellect. Don’t let my #1 fool you – intelligence is critical. The hardest working salesperson in the world will quickly hit a glass ceiling without smarts that match his/her level of drive. Today’s buyer is more informed than ever, and effective sellers need the ability to learn quickly (and often more cross-functionally) than their predecessors. +1 for candidates whose intelligence also bleeds into the realm of EQ.
3.) The desire to have a career in sales. That’s right – a career in sales, not a job in sales – the difference is immensely important. Folks that are in it for the long game are less likely to make the wrong short-term decisions often made by mercenaries. They operate with a bigger-picture vision that usually results in better corporate ethics and teamwork than folks who “see themselves doing this for a few years.” People of this nature also tend to be easier to motivate and understand the “paying of dues” required in entry-level sales roles.
Note a few common differentiators that didn’t make my list – education, industry experience, and a rolodex. These can be acquired – the three characteristics above can not.
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