If you love hitting targets, have zero fear of rejection, you’re great at building relationships, and you constantly push the boundaries to break records and drive home results – chances are you’re a good salesperson. However, to be a great salesperson, it’s often the soft skills that really separate the good from the great.
After learning from The Wall Street Journal that 58% of employees who stated they had ‘excellent communication skills’ on their LinkedIn profile were successfully hired over the process of the year, well, it’s safe to say this got us thinking. As such, we asked our clients what they cared about most when hiring for their sales team. While some of these may not come as a surprise, it’s important to highlight these five skills to help you build up your soft skills and outshine your competition.
During the interview stages, employers care about these five qualities when hiring new sales talent:
1 – Strong communication – cold calling, social selling, email etiquette, you name it – these are all part of the communication umbrella that employers want to know you can excel at
2 – Professionalism – whether it’s a phone based or client facing role, being polished and professional will allow clients and prospects to take you seriously to ultimately build trust.
3 – Adaptability – sales environments are constantly changing. Employers want to know if you’ll be able to adjust to new situations – both internally and externally.
4 – Leadership/management skills – employers are always thinking long-term. They don’t want to have to hire again in six months if the candidate wasn’t the right fit. Hiring a candidate with long-term leadership and management potential to help the team grow is a huge aspect, especially in those junior and mid-market roles.
5 – Passion and enthusiasm – no one likes an un-enthusiastic salesperson. Excitement, passion and a positive attitude is much more likely to stand out and leave a lasting impression.
With regards to specific interview questions, Lisa Dougherty (Editor at Content Marketing Institute) always asks candidates; “If money wasn’t a factor and you could do whatever you wanted in any industry, what would you do?” Lisa asks this because she “wants to find out what they are passionate about and if they are enthusiastic when talking about it. If they struggle to answer, that’s a huge clue into their personality. A hustler will have plenty to say and will light up like a Christmas tree”. This is Lisa’s way of digging into their soft skills without directly asking how “passionate” they are.
If you aren’t sure what soft skills you’re best at, try taking this quiz so you know where your strengths lay before your next interview.
Our biggest suggestion is to be genuine and to present your soft skills in a non-forced way. Be confident, be real, and most importantly – be you.
Until next time…