How to hire a great salesperson

When it comes to recruitment, there can be no tried and tested formula that is universal across different industries – and sales is no different. In order to go about hiring the best sales candidate for a role, it is imperative that the company, organisation or individual who is recruiting is up to speed with exactly what constitutes a great sales candidate – and furthermore, how to spot the signs of one.

Many people may have an idea in their mind of the qualities needed to be a good sales person – perhaps a persistent nature, a don’t-take-no-for-an-answer attitude towards their job, charisma and a personable nature.

Such qualities are more easily discernible and while, by all means, these are commendable attributes, the qualities of a talented sales professional run deeper than the ability to flash a big smile and make somebody say ‘yes’ to a product.

Interestingly, research by Josh Bersin – principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte – found that the type of degree that a sales professional possessed, their university grades and their references did not affect their sales success, which suggests that CV facts and figures and educational legacies may play a far less important role than firms may believe when it comes to hiring a great sales candidate.

Bersin’s research went on to find that the six most important factors when it came to hiring a sales professional were:

No errors on their CV in terms of spelling or grammar
A degree – regardless of the subject
Experience in the sales profession – with particular importance placed on the automotive and real estate industries
Proof the candidate can meet sales quotas successfully
To have demonstrated they can perform well under “vague instruction” – i.e. that they have initiative
Evidence of the ability to multitask and follow up on tasks and projects

The fact is, sales is not just about a job – to be a good salesperson, an individual needs to have a sense of purpose and to truly believe in their cause. If they do not believe in their product, this will be palpably obvious to the client, who will consequently be extremely unlikely to go through with a sale. In addition, a sales professional needs to be somewhat of a chameleon. The same sales strategy will not work on everybody and so it is vital that the individual can quickly identify how to approach their client and ascertain how exactly to go about their pitch – the smile and charm may work on some; it may put others off entirely.

It is hard to tell just from someone’s CV whether or not they possess these more meticulous qualities, which is why using sales recruitment agencies – such as Aaron Wallis, which uses bespoke interview questions – can be an invaluable tool for companies looking to hire dependable, unique sales professionals from the cream of the crop.

Using a specialist agency in this way can afford firms access to a talent pool that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Sales recruitment agencies’ databases, recruitment technology and expertise can help firms to rest assured they will be taking on the best candidates for the roles they seek to fill.