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Hello, I am Steve Suggs, sales recruiting expert and author of the book, Can They Sell. Welcome to my sales recruitment video blog where you learn to hire the best sales people.

Recently, I was working with a manager who was considering hiring a candidate with some sales experience; however, it was in another industry, and it was hard to determine whether or not this sales experience was transferable to this manager’s industry. Many times, you may be in a similar situation where

you’re recruiting a candidate who you think may have potential for your business, but it’s difficult to measure their potential based upon prior sales experience because they don’t have a lot of sales experience, and you’re willing to take a chance on them, or their sales experience is in an unrelated field.

To help with this dilemma, and to mitigate your risk of misjudging their potential, I’d like to talk about the character traits and personality traits that must be measured in order to predict whether or not your candidate will be successful in your particular industry.

The two dimensions of sales success that a salesperson must master in order to reach their income goals:

  1. Face-to-face sales skills & product knowledge
  2. Sales productivity

The first dimension is the level at which a candidate masters face-to-face sales skills and product knowledge. The second dimension is sales productivity – having enough of the right kinds of sales activities everyday. Top salespeople have mastered both of these dimensions, skills and productivity.

Let’s assume for a minute that your company has a great face-to-face sales training program, great product training, and good coaching in the areas of sales productivity. The question is – will a particular candidate with little sales experience in your industry be successful with the training and coaching you have to offer?

Here are the steps you must take during the recruiting process in order to reduce your chances of losing thousands of dollars by taking a chance on someone with little to no sales experience.

Face-to-face sales skills & product knowledge

To measure the first dimension of mastering face-to-face sales skills and product knowledge, begin by making sure they’re smart enough to learn the product knowledge.

1. Measure their ability to learn the product knowledge.

  • Give them a learning aptitude test.
  • Verify their grades in high school and/or college.
  • Do they read books about sales?
  • Do they study product and industry information?
  • Ask interview questions to learn about how much time they spend learning new information.

2. Measure their ability to master face-to-face sales skills.

Great sales training simply isn’t enough if a person is not wired with certain personality traits that are best for dealing with the incredibly challenging career of sales.

  • Do they have a high resiliency to rejection? Top salespeople who master face-to-face sales skills have a high resiliency to rejection.
  • Do they have high scores on the social confidence and good impression personality traits? People with high scores on the social confidence and good impression personality traits have a built-in resiliency to rejection. This same high confidence personality trait comes in handy when cold calling, fact-finding, presenting, handling objections and getting the sale. In other words, high social confidence is critical throughout the entire sales process.

So you have a candidate who you’ve determined is smart enough and has the confidence and resiliency to rejection to master face-to-face sales skills. The question still remains, will they be productive enough? In other words, you have a person who’s really smart and has great face-to-face sales skills, but will they have enough sales activities to give them ample opportunity to use their skills and knowledge?

We’ve all seen the salesperson who everyone admires for their expertise and sales skills, but we can’t understand why they don’t sell enough. It’s all because they don’t have enough sales activity.

Sales Productivity

Here are the personality traits and character traits that we must measure in order to predict a candidate’s sales productivity.

1. Measure the character trait of work ethic.

The right personality traits are of no benefit to a lazy person. We measure a person’s work ethic with:

  • behavioral interview questions
  • a thorough reference check

Also, hard work ethic is of no benefit to a person who does not have the right combination of personality traits to master sales skills.

2. Measure the candidate’s personality traits.

There are many hard-working individuals who never master face-to-face sales skills. It has nothing to do with how hard they try. It has everything to do with their hard wired personality traits.

We need a person with the character trait of hard work ethic along with these personality trait combinations.

  • High scores on the goal orientation and need to control traits.
  • Low to moderate scores on the detail orientation and need to nurture traits.

The high scores on the goal orientation and need to control traits cause a salesperson to work at a fast pace and control the sales process. We’ve found that most individuals who have low scores on these two personality traits struggle to have enough sales activities. We’ve also found that individuals with high detail orientation and high need to nurture struggle with over-analyzing and/or spending too much time nurturing people.

The personality trait combinations of low goal orientation and low need to control along with high detail orientation and high need to nurture will contribute to low sales productivity.

To summarize – to predict sales success, we must look at the two dimensions of mastering face-to-face sales skills and product knowledge, and secondly, sales productivity. To master face-to-face sales skills and product knowledge, we must hire a smart person with a high resiliency to rejection. To master the second dimension of sales productivity, we must hire candidates with the character trait of hard work ethic and the personality trait combinations that cause them to work at a fast pace and control conversations. They also manage time well by not getting paralyzed by details or spending too much time nurturing people.

Thank you for joining me. See you next time on the Can They Sell video blog for more sales job recruitment training. As always, please leave your comments below and forward this video to anyone who will benefit. Now go enjoy recruiting the best, and have fun while measuring sales candidate potential.


Learn more about the following:

 Where to find sales people, where to find sale reps

• What to look for while recruiting salespeople – 5 Dimensions of the Best Salesperson Profile Hiring sales, hire salespeople, hire sales people, hiring sales people, hiring sales reps, IT sales recruitment, recruiting sales people, sales job recruitment
• How to look for the 5 Dimensions – get questionnaires – interview questions for sales, interview questions for salespeople, sales interview, interview questions for sales people


To YOUR Success,

Steve Suggs




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