Originally published May 6th, 2014
As a Hiring Manager at demandDrive, I use the applicant screening process to look for a few specific qualities. The purpose of screening prospective employees for these qualities is simple — the best salespeople exemplify them. Beyond your cover letter and resume, all candidates for a sales role should possess the following key qualities:
1. You’re flexible.
Sales requires adaptability. If your project requires making outbound calls to drive attendance to a specific webinar, you’re able to pick up the phone, smile, and dial. If your co-worker just got a massive list of contacts that need to be sourced immediately, help them out. If you’re noticing a lack of responses to your emails, take the time to revamp your messages. Be flexible in your contributions and be a team player — it will surely get noticed.
2. You can easily overcome rejection.
Like any field, sales has its good days and its bad. Prospects can be rude and downright unpleasant (how dare you call them!). Don’t take it personally — and don’t absorb their bad mood. For every “Rumpelstiltskin” you come in contact with, there are a hundred cheerful prospects who will be willing to provide you with at least some of the information you are seeking.
3. You can step outside your comfort zone.
If you don’t know exactly what the best strategy is in a certain situation, don’t over-think it. Bounce some ideas off your coworkers and go from there. At demandDrive we encourage open strategy sessions — which quite often provide the necessary boost for anyone who is struggling. Don’t be afraid to try new things; the worst case scenario would be making a mistake, which you’ll actually learn from and be better for in the long run.
4. You genuinely like people, and listen when they talk.
Being a people person cannot be trained, it has to come naturally. You have the ability to make a connection with all sorts of people, or you don’t — simple as that. Being able to develop rapport is key, especially when you reconnect with an account from 6 months back and ask how their vacation to Antigua turned out, for example. They’re going to feel special because you remembered, and therefore are more open to a discussion (ex: they’re sales-ready!! POUNCE). Couple this quality with a keen attention to detail and it will undoubtedly pay off.
5. You think big picture and have a great attitude.
Maintaining a high number of quality outbound calls and email activities is essential. That being said, it’s paramount to focus on the big picture. The work (research & sourcing included) you put in now will directly impact your pipeline accounts down the line. You need to be able to keep this in mind the next time you’re getting frustrated due to a slow month. Get over the here-and-now and focus on the creating future opportunities. Don’t worry, you can thank me later when your bonus checks start rolling in.