The Sales Leader You Are Looking For

The quality of sales leadership is elusive, at best.  It is almost as difficult to define as it is to acquire.

Nevertheless, there are 10 basic qualities that all good sales leaders must possess.  Fortunately, most can be learned.

1. A sales leader likes people. If he  doesn’t, forget him

2. A Sales Leader is well-organized.  Organization is the foundation of everything that one does successfully in life.

3. A Sales Leader has a sense of commitment.  Until one is committed, there is hesitancy and always ineffectiveness.

4. A Sales Leader has a strong desire for responsibility. He knows he is responsible for the results.

5. A Sales Leader is persistent in the pursuit of his goals. Former US President Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

6. He brings out the best in people.  The German philosopher Goethe explained this succinctly when he said, “If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”                              

7. He has tolerance.  He understands the art of being human includes allowing people to grow by learning through “mistakes.”  In reality, he realizes there are no “mistakes” -- only steps to mastery.

8. He is flexible.  New situations call for different actions over time.  He needs to know when to direct and control and when to follow and discover.

9. He engages in self-analysis. He must have the guts to accept feedback, and be willing to listen.

10. He has enthusiasm.  All the studies done by the Dale Carnegie organization indicate that this characteristic -- enthusiasm -- is the number one characteristic for success in life. He won’t be alone for very long when he has enthusiasm, because enthusiasm is contagious.

Matching candidates to the company’s culture is essential.  An improper match usually leads to failure in the long run.  Commit yourself to quality recruiting. Search for people who fit into your overall picture.  This is seldom easy, but your diligence and dedication will pay off.  In looking for this person check on the following:

  •  job stability and success history
  • academic achievement
  • record of reliability and integrity
  • a desire to improve present status
  • acceptable appearance and communication skills
  • a desire to succeed
  • compatibility with company values
  • spouse is gainfully employed
  • willing and ready to go full time in 3 months
  • healthy
  • good oral and written communication
  • pleasing personality
  • resident of the locality for 5 years
  • with established circle of influence
  • good reputation
  • children of school age

Now you may ask how in the world would I be able to identify the presence of these qualities in your prospects? The answer may lie in your interviewing abilities. Consider using Behavior-based interviewing. This technique assists you in gathering relevant information on how the candidate has performed when faced with certain scenarios in their working life. If candidates have not experienced this style of interviewing before it can often unsettle them. Below are some examples of this technique.

I. Salesmanship
a.    Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
b.    Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
II. Problem-Solving Skills
a.    Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.
b.    Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures?
c.    Give me a specific example when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
III. Goal-setting
a.    Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
b.    Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get the job done.
c.    Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your task.
d.    Tell me about a time when you were/were not satisfied with own performance. Why were you satisfied/unsatisfied and how did you respond?
IV. Leadership
a.    Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
b.    Give me an example of a time you showed initiative and took the lead.
c.    Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
d.    Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
e.    Tell me about your role in a project team. What did you do to contribute toward a team environment?
f.     Give me an example of a time in which you felt you were able to build motivation in your co-workers or subordinates at work.
V. Relationship-building
a.    Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone whom you found difficult. What made that person difficult? How did you handle it?
VI. Risk-taking
a.    Describe a work situation in which you had to take a risk. What was the outcome?
VII. Morals
a.    Has anyone ever asked you to do something unethical? What did you do?
VIII. Coping Skills
a.    Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.

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