Hiring a great salesperson is hard.  That is because great salespeople are few and far between.  There are many that are adequate, but great, that is the challenge.  Most business owners and sales managers think the best salesperson is the one with connections.  They ask “Who do you know?” minutes into an interview.  As though that is the criteria for success.  In our business buyers and management change so frequently does it really matter who they know?  Because they may know them today, yet tomorrow, the contact can be gone.  Once when I was moving from one company to another my two top accounts changed buyers and management in the week before I was to start my new gig.  The pressure was on for me and I immediately called my new boss to let him know.  Of course I am a great salesperson (if I say so myself 2000px-Smiley) so that didn’t effect my ability to sell.
 I am a firm believer in, it is not “who you know” but “who you can meet”.  In other words my skill set included the ability to contact stores cold and get management and buyers to see my product and to buy it.  That is the person I look for and that is who you should as well.  A great salesperson can sell someone whether they know them or not.  Having relationships can only go so far.  Yes, your relationship will get the buyer in the door.  However getting the buyer to buy is a whole other matter.  If you can’t sell, than that getting the buyer in the door isn’t going to do you a lot of good.  No one buys based on relationships anymore.
What makes a good salesperson?  The qualities I look for are:

  1. Professionalism in appearance and conduct
  2. Good communication skills
  3. Good listening skills
  4. High Energy
  5. The ability to persevere
  6. Achieving successes in their career
  7. Being knowledgeable about my company
  8. Having good references
  9. Ambition.

The bottom line is attitude.  You can teach someone anything but you can’t teach them to have the right attitude.  Great salespeople are hungry for success.  They are self motivated and ambitious.  If the candidate your are interviewing doesn’t  have these qualities than they are not for you.

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