Sales qualities
Your next salesperson should view everything with a competitive edge, including the treadmill.

In his Inside Sales Summit session, Hiring Truly Driven Salespeople, Kevin Gaither, VP of Inside Sales at uSamp, shared his top interview tips for finding unparalleled sales talent. 

Here’s a quick summary of takeaways from Kevin’s session:

Begin With the End in Mind

Prior to interviewing, huddle with your sales team and brainstorm which personal qualities are absolutely necessary for being successful in a sales role. Organizational skills, active listening, negotiation, competitiveness, industry expertise -- anything deemed a critical asset in your sales toolkit. Next, prioritize and define each characteristic.

Achievement + Competitiveness + Optimism = Drive

In Kevin’s experience, there are three primary characteristics leading salespeople innately exhibit. The need for achievement, competitiveness, and optimism. Collectively, we call these drive. In order to determine the level and authenticity of these three qualities in a candidate, here are some key questions to ask during the interview:

Need for Achievement: This is the highest weighted characteristic of drive. It’s the burning desire to achieve high goals. It’s a strong work ethic. Individuals with the need to achieve are hard-wired to make sacrifices in favor of their career and work success.

  1. What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to be successful in your career?
  2. Tell me about a few times where you exceeded expectations or went beyond the call of duty?
  3. What’s the toughest goal you’ve ever set for yourself? How do you plan to top it?

Competitiveness: Truly competitive individuals love to win, and hate to lose. They view many situations in life as being competitive situations - the treadmill at the gym, driving in rush hour traffic, winning new business, competing with fellow salespeople.

  1. When was the last time you were in a competitive situation?
  2. Where do you rank on the sales team? May I have permission to contact your boss to ask about your rank?
  3.  How would your manager rank your competitiveness compared to your peers? What makes your manager see you as competitive?

Optimism: Optimistic people have a thick skin and a disregard for reality. They brush off rejection and carry on.

  1. Think back to the last time you lost a deal. What did you do to recover?
  2. Describe a sale where your persistence really paid off. Tell me about another time.
  3. When was the last time a customer got under your skin?
  4. Tell me about a time when you got a result even though it upset someone else.

 To learn more about hiring your next sales all-star, Tweet Kevin at @kevinsgaither and ask for a free sample of the Inside Sales Sample Benchmark.