Tips for Hiring Inside Sales Reps: 7 Must Have Sales Attributes

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7 Must Have Sales Attributes - How to Hire Inside Sales Reps

(Louie Bernstein is Chief Sales Officer (CSO) for Izenda, an XANT client, a serial entrepreneur, and a consummate, award winning salesman. This is the first article of a three-part series.)

In every company – and in particular every small company – everyone’s in sales. If anyone in your company has contact with the buying public, then they’re in sales. Never forget that. More importantly, use it to your advantage.

When someone contacts your company, they don’t know what department the person is in who answers the phone or who responds to their email. All your visitor knows is that person is your company. You only get one first impression and it needs to be a good one.

You may have started your business and been in a field other than sales such as marketing, accounting or finance. And/or you may not like to sell. If the latter is the case, you should really consider not starting a business because you’re always selling. You’re selling your prospects and customers on your value, your vendors on your pricing or terms, your bankers on your trustworthiness, and your employees on your vision.

Bottom line: Sales is a crucial part of your business and you need to be good at it. Love it or hate it, selling is an essential skill that you need to get your arms around. A daily dose of training will really help. The Sales Getters Sales Training Course is designed exactly for that task. It’s true; nothing happens until someone sells something. If your company is at the stage where you can hire sales people, here are seven attributes you need to have on your sales team:

1. A Good Attitude. If your sales team does not have a good attitude, you have problems from the very start. A good, positive, sincere attitude can be contagious. A bad attitude in the group won’t necessarily kill the group, but it is like driving with a flat tire. You can get there but it will take longer, and it’s ugly.

You can do a lot of things to help nurture a good attitude, but it’s basically up to each individual to have a positive, upbeat outlook. Sales reps with constructive attitudes are ready to talk deals first thing in the morning and are always eager to learn. They usually don’t need coaxing and just want to get going.

The rep with the bad attitude needs to be called out right away: in front of everyone. Note: Rarely should a manager discipline any direct report in front of others. Praise in Public. Punish in Private. However, this is one case I think it’s important to confront the rep in public and let them know they are affecting the whole group. Sales is a team effort and they are hurting the whole team which affects the company’s success and others’ income.

2. A Desire to Get Better and Learn. Sales reps, like other professionals, need the drive to become the best at their craft. With the web, eBooks, podcasts, email newsletters, etc., it is easy to find relevant, well-designed sales training. A lot of this training is free. You can do your part by providing an environment that is abundant with tools and by pointing them to the above resources. A regularly scheduled training session is also a must. You may get resistance at first, but the reps who want to succeed will come to demand these sessions.

3. A Desire to be Better than the Competition. No mistake about it, the top performing rep is the one who does not like to lose. This is great, as long as they don’t point those fangs internally. Everyone likes to win. You want reps who hate losing to the competition. You must instill the concept that “there is no money for second place in sales.” Until they embrace this concept, they will never have that sense of urgency.

4. A guaranteed number of QUALITY calls. Your reps need to be thinking about making quality calls rather than focusing on quantity. They should not want to leave the office until a certain number of quality calls are made – meaning new prospects or current prospects that are moving closer to a sale. There has always been a big debate with the quantity versus quality debate. (I am not talking about cold calling lead generation here. This pertains to reps that can move a prospect from warm to close.) I am both a numbers guy and a quality guy. If your reps practice, drill and rehearse, and then add quantity, the sky’s the limit.

5. Documentation for Every Call. Sales reps come and go. You just don’t want them to go with the knowledge of your customers in their head never to be seen by your company again. Whatever system you use for tracking customer interactions, you need to make sure your reps use every bit of it. Every phone conversation, meeting, presentation, etc., needs to be documented in your CRM system. Additionally, it is a good idea to send a follow up email or letter after a presentation, strategy call or demo. It should document who was present, what was discussed, and what the action items are for each party.

6. The Highest Degree of Integrity. You cannot be one kind of person and another kind of sales person. You cannot tolerate (or afford) to have unethical sales people in your company. One thing that should get you fired on the spot is lying to or misleading a customer or prospect. How your sales reps act with your clients is a reflection on you and your entire company. This rule should be posted and communicated to every rep (and employee) from their first day of employment.

7. Think About Getting Customers Instead of Deals.  If you are in a B2B business, your growth will come from repeat business or recurring revenue from your existing customer base. You can give out promises to close one deal but that’s not how you build a business. Your sales reps should be aware of how satisfied your customer will be one month or one year after the first sale. Make sure your reps aren’t making promises your bank account can’t keep. It starts with you letting your reps know you can’t realistically do some things just to get the deal. And they need to know you are okay with that. It may mean shorter term gains but it translates into happier, longer-term customers and profits.

What attributes do you look for when hiring sales reps?

Take a look at Louie’s new training site:

Photo Credit: bit.ly/AKZO1

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