Advisor Today - July/August 2015 - (Page 20)

PRACTICE SPECIALTIES MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE By Eliot Burdett Traits of Top Performers Many successful salespeople have these seven traits. Find out if your candidate possesses them. I nterviewing sales candidates can be extremely difficult since even a subpar seller is trained to tell people what they want to hear. Many candidates look great on paper, only later to turn in lackluster performances. Since the cost of bad hires is enormous for a company's bottom line, it is critical for those who are in charge of hiring to "get it right." Here are the seven most common personality traits found in top sales performers, and tips on how to find out if the candidate across the table truly possesses them. 1) SUCCESS DRIVEN: While skills can be learned, a desire to succeed and a pattern of behavior often cannot. Since sales candidates will not assess themselves as unambitious, the interviewer must delve deeper. High performers have a pattern of accomplishments across all areas of their life, not just their work. ç Tip to interview for patterns of success: Include questions in the interview script that probe what they are the most proud of. Start with their achievements at work, but transition to areas outside work, such as sports or the arts, in which they can show where they are goal-oriented. 2) CONFIDENCE VS. FALSE BRAVADO: A salesperson can exude confidence in an interview, and still wilt under rejection or criticism. When the best salespeople are told "No," they are not defeated; they are invigorated. ç Tip to interview for confidence: While testing a candidate's determination is important, it is advisable to do so in a way that is not offensive. A successful salesperson will not wilt under pressure; yet, he will want to feel wooed at the same time. Ask for examples of how he showed extraordinary determination. 20 ADVISOR TODAY | July/August 2015 3) COMPETITIVE FIRE: This is defined by Merriam-Webster as "having a strong desire to win or be the best at something." It is the fuel that powers salespeople to hunt new business opportunities, cold call, get in front of key decision-makers, and close deals. ç Tip to interview for competitiveness: Ask the candidate to describe how he strives to be the best salesperson possible. If he talks about using his co-worker's recent big deal as a motivation to come in early or stay late, or expresses a desire to surpass his own best sales numbers, this is a key indicator that he is a top performer. 4) SENSE OF URGENCY: The creed that "time kills deals" defines top-performing salespeople. They understand that every minute not spent on the phone with prospects or meeting them face-to-face is potential lost revenue. ç Tip to interview for a sense of urgency: Ask candidates for examples of how they used time to their advantage. How much time is split between prospecting, working the funnel, and closing accounts? These numbers will tell you if they understand that time is money. 5) PRIMAL NEED TO INFLUENCE OTHERS: Let's face it-people like to buy from people they like. That is not to say they are categorically extroverts since many great salespeople are classified as introverts; they simply have an innate ability to develop relationships. ç Tip to interview for a people person: See if they appear relaxed, and if their smile and handshake are genuine. If they routinely bond with clients, send them useful information beyond what they are selling, or can articulate how they build rapport with prospects to overcome pricing objections, you may have a winner. 6) CREATIVITY: This word is not always associated with salespeople, but the best are very creative when it comes to removing obstacles and finding solutions to problems. As the saying goes, "the best salespeople don't ask permission-they seek forgiveness." ç Tip to interview for creativity: Ask the candidates about occasions when they have had to develop alternative ways of doing things to succeed. Give them difficult scenarios involving gatekeepers, price, and budgeting issues and ask them to brainstorm solutions. This will show if they are creative problem solvers. 7) PERSEVERANCE AND RESILIENCE: Great salespeople do not let rejection prevent them from achieving success. They never give up on a deal until it is definitely dead, and if it is, they will find another deal to close in its place. ç Tip to interview for organization: Ask the candidate to talk about his failures and how those failures later led to greater success. Eliot Burdett is CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, a B2B sales recruiting company.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - July/August 2015

From The Editor
New Products
How Do You Create the Million-Dollar-Plus Practice?
Traits of Top Performers
The Business Benefits of a Pipeline Mentality
What Does It Mean to Act Ethically?
Variable Universal Life is Back
Sell More LTCI By Selling Less!
Overcoming the Most Common DI Objections
Divorce DI
Mitigating Retirement Risks with Life Insurance
Creating Irreplaceable Capital
Closing the Gap
Financial Future Less than Rosy for Boomers and GenX
Estate Planning and Annuities?
Ignite Your Sales Potential
A Closer Look at BTID
Upholding the Tradition
NAIFA’s Candidates for Election
Addicted to Rejection
What is Keeping Your Senior Clients Up At Night?
Advertiser Index
Back Page

Advisor Today - July/August 2015