Are you interested in a career in sales? Sarah from our Sales Recruitment team discusses 5 key qualities that every hiring manager will be looking for when recruiting sales people.

Determination and Persistence

In the world of sales you will have to tackle any number of obstacles that can affect securing a sale, so being determined is essential. The most important thing to do as a sales person is to show a customer how this product or service will make a difference to their lives and their business. To do this you need to show you are enthusiastic about what you are selling them, that you will stand behind this product and are confident in its abilities. Don’t be afraid of the word “No”, persevere and that sale will happen! A hiring manager will always be curious to know how potential sales representatives have demonstrated enthusiasm and determination throughout their lives and will definitely ask questions at interviews to get this information. If you already have a background in sales be sure to have examples of when you have ‘won over’ difficult customers who were resistant to try your service or product. If you don’t have much sales experience, you should display examples of when you successfully managed to persuade a colleague or superior to change their mind on a key strategic company decision that you felt strongly about.

Strong People Skills

There is no denying that as a sales person, you will need to be well able to build and maintain lasting relationships with suppliers and with your customers. This networking will come as second nature to a strong sales person, using any outlet to build up those necessary connections. A good sales person will have empathy with his/her clients and take the time to understand their needs, listening to the issues they have at the moment and what they want the final outcome to be. If you think about it, would you entertain someone trying to sell you a car if you just told them you needed a van? Strong people skills are essentially strong listening skills. Think of a couple of scenarios where you worked with people, listened to a problem they were encountering and how you presented a solution to that problem. These are the kind of skills and experiences that hiring managers are looking for in sales people.

Industry Knowledge

This is one of the most important things you will need as a sales person. You must be able to discuss the product and service with your customers and understand the “lingo” that will go along with that. For example, if you are going to be selling specialised products you will need to be able to communicate with the client, understand their business needs and discuss the best product options with them. Likewise for regulated environments such as pharmaceutical or medical devices, you will need to have a good understanding of these to ensure that the client’s needs are being met. This can be a potential barrier to entry for sales professionals looking to get into a new industry but there is nothing to fear here. If you find yourself in this situation and are asked about it at a job interview you should give an example of a situation where you quickly learned and adapted to working in a new environment. By showing a willingness to learn about new products quickly and previous situations where you have done that, there is no reason why a hiring manager would discount you from the interview process.

Driven to achieve sales targets

Targets are a key performance indicator within the sales profession so anyone in a sales role will need to have the drive to achieve these on a weekly and monthly basis. There is no escaping it. If you are not a target driven or goal orientated person, then a profession in sales may not be for you. A good sales person will constantly drive to over achieve on their targets but of course there will be weeks or months when the results just don’t happen for one reason or another. It is here that you will really need the drive to keep going, push through the rough period and generate those results the following month. Displaying a commercial awareness will be important here. When applying for a sales role try and quantify your previous work achievements in terms of revenue generated or costs saved for your previous or existing employer. Mentioning examples such as ‘increased turnover by X%’ or grew sales volume by Y%’ on your CV and at interview stage will help demonstrate this.

After sales service

After sales is just as important to a customer as the pre sales discussions. Once a customer has purchased a product or service from you they want the security of knowing that should something go wrong, they can call on you to resolve it. This again ties back to maintaining strong relationships with your customers to secure future business. A quick check up a few weeks after finalising a sale and letting a client know they can call on you with any issues will make all the difference. I would recommend having a few examples of how you have maintained a strong ongoing relationship with clients and how you may have resolved any difficulties they experienced following the conclusion of a sale. Again, try and quantify those examples if you can. Perhaps after solving an issue you managed to achieve a repeat sale from that customer. Be sure to mention that at your interview! For those who haven’t worked in sales before, think of examples of where you exhibited a strong level of customer service in your career and emphasize that you are aware of the importance of after sales or customer service in a sales role.

Sarah HeffernanSarah is based in our Waterford office and specialises in the recruitment of roles in sales, marketing, office support & IT and HR. If you are interested in discussing your career options with Sarah or need assistance with the recruitment of a role why not give her a call on 051 353825 or connect with her on LinkedIn.