This is a cliche, yes, but one worth revisiting in the day of social media and self publishing.

As an example – I volunteered to interview a potential sales candidate for a business I am consulting with and my only objective was to tease out the truth and the liklihood of success. How many of us have been persuaded by a smooth talking salesperson only to discover there was no there there…

I didn’t have the luxury of my trusted psychometric tools so I had to rely on questioning and careful listening to come to a conclusion. I have been at this for nearly 3 decades and I still get fooled…I know this is no easy nut to crack and, interestingly enough, I listened to a podcast suggesting the same challenge to find good salespeople and I reviewed a new business this week aimed at solving the recruiting challenge around sales and sales support. And on and on…there are too many examples to cite.

The point is – you don’t know what you’re gonna get until you have someone in action and then you will find out. My god, how many tools are there these days to help improve sales skills, efficiencies…How about getting the right butt in the seat for starters!!!

Actions speak louder than words.

So, without my tools at my disposal, what did I ask this young man so I could make an educated assessment of the liklihood of sales success?

  1. Why do you think you will be successful?
  2. Tell me about your past success?
  3. How do you create opportunities to engage?
  4. Tell me about a situation (business or other) where you have built something.
  5. What do you think makes a great salesman?
  6. Are you an athlete? ( I have a bias towards this..I must admit – tells me about teamwork, confidence, competitiveness…)
  7. Tell me about your family, background…(pop psychology to discover drive)

There are other questions and tidbits that fall out of the conversation, all aimed at discovering future actions as opposed to words.

It’s not easy to predict success based on a limited time frame to make a decision…it just isn’t. But, we have to make decisions and here are the things I look for and what I consider to be essential and core traits of the best salespeople:

  1. Insatiable drive to succeed
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Intelligence
  4. Curiosity
  5. Communication skills
  6. Coachability
  7. Work habits

There are too many self promoters these days and too many imposters. Words are more plentiful than ever!  I listen to people that have authentic success and I want those kind of people on my team.

Authenticity and actions are what drive success and they always speak louder than words.



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