Advisor Today - July/August 2015 - (Page 20)
MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE
By Eliot Burdett
Traits of Top Performers
Many successful salespeople have these seven traits. Find out if your candidate possesses them.
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
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
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
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
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
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - July/August 2015
From The Editor
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
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?
Advisor Today - July/August 2015