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Sales Wolf Blog

3 Signs a Candidate Will Be a Great Salesperson

Posted by Chris Young

Apr 18, 2013 8:30:00 AM

3 Signs A Salesperson Will Be A Great CandidateSometimes our Clients listen.  Sometimes they do not.  

A few years ago a Client used the TriMetrix® HD to assess sales talent in a highly technical field.  They were desperately seeking an outside salesperson.  Unfortunately, there were so few sales candidates on the market that they decided to choose one of the half dozen local college graduates in the degree field.  

We assessed several and no meaningful job fit existed with any of them.  The Client chose the "best" of the group despite our risk warnings. 

As predicted, it was a disaster.  Six months later, our predictions rang true.  This "dog" could not hunt.  He literally sat in his car outside the prospect's offices and did not go in to sell.   The sales manager ended up spending countless hours trying to help the low performer but they could not fix the real problem - low job fit.  

This particular Client listens now.  If the risk indicators are too high, they do not hire.  Period.  They have learned their lesson - it is better to be short-staffed than to have salespeople who cannot sell and need constant coaching.  

Over the last decade we have assessed thousands of sales candidates and existing salespeople using the TriMetrix® HD in combination with our proprietary algorithm.

We have found that there are particular "personality combinations" and traits that are a statistically significant predictor of future sales success.  Two can be measured objectively and one can be manipulated.

  1. The right motivation.  In short, high-performing sales people value making money and taking control of their destinies.  We call it "goal post Utilitarian / Individualistic".  
  2. The right Behavior Style for the sales role.  The DISC Behavioral Style is a high DI for outside sales or a high ID, DC, or IS for inside sales.
  3. The demonstration of some type of entrepreneurial inclination in prior positions or through their own small businesses.  A prime example is being a paper carrier as a child and/or having a lawn mowing / painting service.

Top Sales Talent Behavior Style Notes:

The "DI" is preferred in most industries for outside sales.  The "DI" is a "tell-oriented" aggressive problem-solver who can move between "people and task" at will.  They are verbally expressive - sometimes charismatic.  The higher the "D" in outside sales, the more likely the salesperson can handle the inevitable rejection that comes with cold calling.  If the "I" is higher than the "D" - the salesperson is more likely to suffer from "cold call rejection".  

Inside salespeople are often account managers or the sales opportunities come to them.  For inside sales, the "ID" is preferred.  The "I" is the "People-Tell" dimension.  The "DC" is all "Task" and can move between "Ask and Tell".  I find the "DC" to be often strategically brilliant for both outside and inside sales. Customers often love the "DC" for the insights they have that others do not.

The "IS" can also make a very good inside salesperson in situations where the relationship is key.  The "IS" is what we call "People-People" and can move between "Ask and Tell".  The higher the "S" - the better the listener.

Top Sales Talent Values Notes:

Top salespeople want to make money and they will take the necessary actions to achieve their goals.

The higher the Utilitarian / Individualistic combination, the stronger the motivation to sell and own the outcomes - both good and bad.  The higher the Utilitarian in combination with a low Individualistic increases the potential that the salesperson seeks compensation but will avoid the effort to make the sale.  We call this "entitlement thinking".  

The higher the Individualistic - the higher the likelihood the salesperson will want to be sales manager one day. This is often a profound mistake as what makes a good salesperson is not what makes a good sales manager.  

If the Social is too low - in some situations, the Customer may feel the salesperson only cares about getting the sale and not about them personally.  

The Resume:

Top salespeople have a history of making it happen.  Whether through their own entrepreneurial activities or demonstrated success in past employment situations. However, it is extremely important to keep in mind that there can be short-term motivations that can make anyone have the ability to do whatever it takes to sell.  Many of the questions one would perhaps want to ask to identify such situations are inappropriate to ask.  

Predicting the potential of a salesperson is remarkably easy using the TriMetrix® HD. The resume' is a great place to start.  Do not stop there.  Invest in the TriMetrix® HD sales assessment to identify the potential of your sales candidates separate the low performers from the high.

Unfortunately, many resume's are an oasis - fiction.

Your bottom line, your bonus, and your forehead will thank you for hiring the best salespeople every time.  

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