So what sort of qualities should make a bad sales person? These are not necessarily easy to pick up in an interview but definitely worth looking out for…
Any salesperson is going to get rejected A LOT. That’s bound to wear on their soul in some way, but having someone who is too emotionally involved or takes things too personally is not good for them or your business. Sometimes it can be hard to hide your disappointment when dealing with a promising prospect that just won’t convert, but you never want a salesperson to come across as sad/desperate as it reflects poorly. No customer will appreciate a guilt trip.
Now, obviously I would never suggest that any salesperson is prone to bending the truth but I think it would be fair to say they are the people who put your organisation in the best light. Customers are rarely unwise when it comes to exaggerated stories/lines you’ve used 100 times or facts that won’t check out. This goes back to that short term gains/long term loss I’ve been talking about. Any salesperson who will do/offer/say anything in order to get the sale without thinking of the wider implications for the business is not an asset.
I’ve talked often about the importance of disqualification and that it is always better spending your time chasing prospects who are interested then not. Some sales people however are all too happy to throw in the towel after a few missed calls or away from desks. I would suggest that even where a prospect gives you a no, it’s always worth trying them a few years down the line just in case. Giving up too early might mean you miss a lot of opportunities, and being able to properly judge when someone is an actual prospect, and when you are being as pest is the core skill of any salesman worth their salt.
Quite often salespeople will have their own style and approach to how they go about generating business. That’s pretty normal! What you don’t want though is someone who is stubborn, stuck in their ways and is unwilling to try new things, learn more about your industry and prospects and contribute to your team. This is especially true where you have a few people doing your sales, you want them to be sharing information, techniques and tips. A lone wolf starves where the pack survives.
It’s important that your sales person is presentable, and I can understand the thought process but it’s not usually a good idea to hire someone based on their good looks! Certainly someone who is ‘easier on the eye’ might be more approachable but science says beauty is only really skin deep. In a study by Boston University it was found that salespeople with a higher perception of attractiveness did in fact sell more, but that this attribute only had an impact on short term relationships. For any business transaction that required multiple meetings, the effect of attractiveness sharply fell off. Every business aims to establish long term relationships and so picking the prettiest or most handsome sales person is not in itself a good idea unless they have all the other positive attributes we’ve talked about.