Yes, the role of the sales person seems to have changed over the years, but one undeniable truth remains – not everyone is cut out to be in sales. Often times the observable skills of presentation and polish are the only things considered when hiring a new sophisticated sales professional, but the substance underneath the surface that really drives results is simply not there.
The last thing he sold was himself!
And therein lies the rub. “The last thing he sold was himself” is a common saying in sales management. The new sales person “sold himself” into the job, and has sold nothing of substance since. In these instances the hiring manager observed in the selection process a polished, well spoken, likeable person on the surface, traits that have almost no correlation to their ability to actually sell to outside customers. There are a great many other natural traits and talents that are required for superior sales performance such as results orientation, determination, emotional intelligence, and assertiveness, to name a few.
Some people still believe that if you can sell yourself, then you can sell to anyone. Fact is, today’s customers are more discerning than in the past. Today’s customer, who is tired of polished-but-hollow sales people, has a greater number of choices to choose from and simply expects more than just a likeable sales person.
First impressions can fall flat
And when a sales person fails to thrive by trying to survive on first impressions alone, sales not made can be crippling to a company. The truth to the statement, “nothing happens without the sale” is never made more evident than when they aren’t made. Business ceases quickly with no sales revenue to fuel that machine. The damage goes far beyond those immediate lost sales because the encroachment by the competition (who did get the sale) makes it ten times more difficult to win that client back.
Related: Key Qualities of a Great Salesperson
So what is a sophisticated sales professional to do?
Those organizations, on the other hand, that do enjoy significant sales growth do so by ensuring that they have a sophisticated sales professional; not just a sales person with a pretty (or handsome) face.
These businesses do a better job of understanding all the traits and talents required for their particular kind of sale for selling their product or service to their specific customer. These businesses excel in actually measuring these traits through the use of scientifically validated assessments that peel back the cover and examine the core competencies possessed by all those who apply for the position. In so doing, they have a much better understanding of not only what competencies are required for success, but also the degree to which candidates possess them. In other words, they go far beyond observable impressions and good answers in an interview.
There are lots of assessments that fit this bill, but there are a lot that don’t, so you need to be careful in selecting the right profile. It needs to be:
- Specific to the role of sales
- Scientifically validated and proven reliable
- Tested and up to par with the EEOC (USA) requirements for a hiring assessment
- Proven through use, meaning a large base of use in a variety of different sales roles, and
- Practical, using terms and meaning that don’t require the end user (i.e. management) to go through significant certification and training.
Some of the more popular assessments in the marketplace that fit these requirements include:
- The DISC Index Behavioral Profile,
- The Values Index Motivational profile,
- The Attribute Index Sales Assessment,
- The ADVanced Insights,
- The Kolbe Assessment,
- People Keys –Type analysis, and
- The Platinum Rule
Become more informed on your sales talents
I’ve personally used several of these with my executive coaching clients and those I’ve tried have all worked well. To help out with your search I’m offering a free profile to the readers of this article.
Simply click on this link for your free assessment to see an example of the depth and number of traits that could be considered when dealing with sophisticated sales professionals.
At the end of the day, the companies with the best sales performance appear to also be those who have a more complete understanding of exactly what traits and skills are required for their specific kind of sale, and their specific customer.
Simply put, they know more about what they want and are better able to find it.
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