The Best Sales People Born or Bred?

A recent LinkedIn discussion prompted me to comment: You will probably agree that sales people are the hardest of all to recruit because their CV’s always look good, they speak well and their references are always glowing.

Only when I have hired, then trained them and sit next to them in meetings, do I really know what they are capable of. I need to really understand what will motivate someone to perform, especially in a tough market. The adage, Can Do, Will Do, Will Fit is critical and the recruitment process needs to cover all three areas. Psych testing helps the decision making process, as does behavioral interviewing – but nothing beats seeing them in action!

Another tactic that has helped my hiring success rate is to have current team members interview prospective staff without seeing a CV with any pre-conceived early judgments. In addition, I insist on gaining permission to speak with their immediate superiors at their past three jobs and have them physically demonstrate some of their professional business development skills. Rarely has a competitor’s former sales person worked out, because it is the same person, selling the same product for a different company.

Finally, for what my 2 cents is worth…some of my best hires have been people with great passion and attitude and not necessarily a track record in the industry they are now applying to join. My view is that the best salespeople are bred with the right attitude not simply born with a gift. I am keen to hear your views on this topic, so please comment!!!

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