06 Feb Top 10 Signs you’ve Hired a Great Sales Rep
In conjunction with our “Top 10 Signs you’ve Hired a Great Recruiter” article from last year, we thought it would be a good idea to follow it up with the “Top 10 Signs you’ve Hired a Great Sales Rep” article. The lifeline of a business is drawn from the success of an established and well-oiled sales machine. And, many small to mid-sized businesses run through the mill a few times before achieving a balanced sales attack; with some never making it there while continuously running in mud.
It’s time to take another point of view and check our Top 10 Signs against your current sales team. We see these signs as characteristics that might tell you that you’ve made a great hire. Check them out and let us know if they tell a tale that resonates with your team.
- The Will to Win is Very Strong. Many people talk this way, but very few actually back it up. If your sales rep is pursuing the hunt with their core target accounts in a way that they’ve opened up each and every avenue to crack that account, then they are on the right path. The high majority of average hunters will look at only the traditional methods of account breaking and never go beyond. Your top producers will get angry and become stronger when the going gets tough to get what they want in their effort to win.
- Self Motivation Shows in All That They Do. Your top producers will be those that don’t need to be watched and monitored. They are the individuals with high energy and will always get what they want because they are earning it inside and outside of work. Your next leaders will sift through the noise, put their head down, and charge forward on all goals in life. Those that are just following the wave of what life brings them, are those that will end up in the average to below average bucket.
- Looking in the Mirror is more Common than Pointing the Finger. Are your sales people pointing the finger at reasons other than themselves for not closing a deal or getting a meeting? If so, they have an issue with accountability. Top sales reps will always control the outcomes of their efforts to the greatest degree. If you’ve got reps that are looking for scapegoats as to why things aren’t falling in their direction, then they are not in control of their destiny. The best always look in the mirror and modify behavior in order to control outcomes to their liking.
- Fear of Failure is Not a Part of any Discussion. The best reps are not afraid. I look at the top 5 sales reps I know and none of them are afraid of failure. To me, there are opposing characteristics when comparing fear of failure against will to succeed. Look at your team and if there are individuals that are afraid to fail, note that their activities are drawn from a negative energy as opposed to positive energy in pushing to win. The psychological arguments on this topic are long, but I stand strong on noting that the best of the best are void of this trait.
- A Succession of Previous Wins can be Traced to this Individual. Scan your sales staff and note that the top reps are those that have a history of success in their life, inside of work and out. Sure, there are a few of those that make it to the top with a scarred history and no other win on the resume, but it is highly irregular. If you were to plot your team in a matrix of various categorical wins and life timelines, your top producers will be well-balanced across all quadrants. Your bottom feeders will still be looking for their first or second win.
- There is no Such Thing as Social Awkwardness. The best reps have the ability to be a chameleon to each of their buyer types. Sure, there is a group of those high performing reps that are “odd”, or “quirky”, but the best of the best are high energy, socially sound individuals that can acclimate themselves to the varying social atmospheres. Are there reps in your office that seem to be in awkward situations more than not? My bet is that they are at the lower end of the performance spectrum.
- Methodology and Organization is Innate. The top sales reps are highly organized and know the details of each and every situation; or take notes to be certain they never forget. Additionally, the individuals that are methodical in their approach and have adopted/created a sales methodology are more likely to succeed. However, there is a fine line between those that utilize a methodology for the sake of using one and those that adopt one for the sake of creating winning situations. I’ve seen many people blindly follow a process, without the successful outcomes or knowledge as to why they are doing what they do.
- 8-5 is Only Part Time. The best reps live their job because the role they’ve assumed gives them the great opportunity to live they life they desire. Sales is not a job to them and there are no time clocks on their radar. The top performers are willing to do whatever it takes to be great, regardless of what time it is and what they are doing. There are no boundaries on the path to greatness and financial reward. Time is not an issue.
- They Hit the Tops of the Charts in the “Nice Guy” Category. This trait has to be a sub-trait in the grand list of success criteria as it cannot be a standalone factor when determining accomplishment. There are a slew of nice sales reps out there, but that doesn’t always mean that they have what it takes to be successful. In fact, I would argue that a large proportion of the best reps are hated by the people inside their firm but are loved by the clients. The best reps may cause a ton of damage and be management nightmares, but are extremely well-liked on the outside. Measure up your top producers on the external scale from your clients and prospects point of view. It’s very likely that your customers will see them as tops on the “Nice Guys” chart, even though they may be on the bottom on the inside.
- Do What You Say and Say What You Do. Your top reps are promise-keepers. They are not afraid of commitment and claiming a stake for a desired outcome. Your best reps are also those that will always (or almost always) do what they say they will do. We could likely argue that the bottom performers are those that continue to say they will do things and not come through against expectations. Clients and prospects want to see promises kept and a trend of this activity will secure trust and belief in your rep and your brand.
If you having trouble staffing the top sales performers, maybe your business is meant to be a CEO sales driven organization, or maybe you prefer to have scary sales creatures on your staff, or maybe you aren’t seeing the hidden sales metrics inside the engine. Whatever the case maybe, you should be paying very close attention to your sales dollars to make certain that you are moving in the right direction in order to lock down those with the right DNA to be Sales Champions.
Want to find out how to better equip your sales team for success? Contact echogravity to find out how.
Kevin O’Brien is a Co-Founder and Partner at echogravity. Kevin’s credentials include being a top recruiter for a international Big 8 consulting firm, top business development rep for a global consulting and staffing firm, and consulting with over 100 companies across North America.