There’s a lot of material on what are and aren’t great traits to have as a sales representative on the net-they have to be charismatic, they have to be handsome, they have to be able to talk for hours on end. For the most part, they focus on the ability of the potential representative to talk to and get in good with the customer. Unfortunately, finding a sales representative that works best for your company is much more complex than just finding a person that can talk to people well- One of the most common and easily preventable mistakes businesses make when they are first starting out and trying to create a sales team is to fall into the trap of thinking that you just need one of these smooth talkers and your numbers will rocket upwards. That is rarely the case-you, as a manager or business owner, need to find a method of specializing your sales team to more efficiently navigate the landscape of your industry. What follows are three easy steps to get you on your way to developing a streamlined and effective sales force
Trait 1: Some level of industry-specific knowledge
Talk to any business owner who has followed the common knowledge approach of hiring an old gray sales representative with no technical knowledge and they’ll regale you with stories of endless calls from those representatives constantly asking the same technical questions again and again. These constant calls while attempting to demonstrate or talk about your product and the extra work they cause for you or your technical staff may seriously hurt productivity and the numbers of sales they’re able to close.
By no means do sales people need to be experts on your product or have deep industry knowledge in terms of technical know-how. However, SOME level of proficiency with your product and its aspects, or even just knowing how to use a computer past opening a web browser and peck-typing 30 words per minute on a notepad app will help boost efficiency in your work place while simultaneously giving them an extra tool in their sales methodology.
Trait 2: Flexibility and Adaptability
One of the best tips for a small business who is just starting out and wants to boost their output is to develop a good sales process, defined as an approach to selling a product or service that best fits your business model. Once you’ve developed the best system possible where you quickly and efficiently can alert a customer to a need for the solution you provide via analyzing the financial consequences of not taking that solution, you can now start to build your sales team with this process as the backbone of their process. There lies the problem-frequently with sales representatives (especially older, more established ones) is the belief that their method of sales is the best and most optimized for every situation. Frequently, this is very much not the case.
Your future sales team needs to be able to adapt to any situation being thrown at them, and to most effectively do this there needs to be an underlying, shared process that the whole team can fall back on. A sales representative that refuses to adapt to your business’s model of sales is not a representative you want working for you. It’s YOUR business and an industry YOU are more familiar with-you need to lay down the sales process you have developed over time and make it clear that you expect it to be followed.
Trait 3: Self-motivating
There is no trait more important in a salesperson-no matter what anyone says or speculates in regards to the field of sales, there will never be a more important aspect of somebody’s personality than the ability to hit the pavement and face rejection after rejection, failure after failure, to land that sale. The charming but lazy fast talker who can butter up any customer will get far fewer sales than the grumpy curmudgeon who is out of bed at 5 every morning to talk to a lead in a different time zone or research the needs and concerns of your targeted demographic to find the best sales method, every time. Sales is a repetitive, disheartening job and you need to find candidates that not only don’t mind those aspects, but excel in the face of diversity and don’t fear failure.
There are a couple of methods of screening for this in a candidate. First, during the interview, probe them for questions only someone who has done a good amount of research into your company would know. A motivated potential employee would have done exhaustive research into your company to best present themselves in a way that would end in a favorable outcome for them. This is very much a quality that will be beneficial in their efforts in sales-that research may mean the difference in closing a sale.
Second, analyze their personal life-do they have a family? Kids that need a college education? A big house with an equally large mortgage? External factors like these can provide all of the motivation a sales representative needs to get out there and drive up sales for your business.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg- finding a sales team that will be most effective for your business is an infinitely complex aspect of any industry. If you follow these suggestions, however, you will avoid the most common mistakes a new business owner or manager make when first developing their selling process. If you are taking the time to research and gather information, you are already far ahead of the game.