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How to Spot a Future Sales Maven

Grit. Resilience. Drive.

Three words that separate the hunters from the gatherers. Three qualities that separate the gold medal from the participation ribbon. We all want to hire candidates that embody each of these qualities, but how can you spot your next sales guru? We all want to see those three things on a resume and in an interview, but how can you be sure your candidate is a walking version of the job description? Here are a few key ingredients to look for when making your next sales hire.

Relationship Builder

Bottom line: people don’t want to be sold a product. They want to be sold an experience, and only people can offer that. Developing strong, consultative relationships with clients in order to find solutions to their business problems is how one #wins at sales. Ask yourself: what is their network like? How many connections do they have on LinkedIn – and real life? How natural are they around people? Candidates with strong relationship building skills and a focus on making a difference rather than a dollar are key to look for.


Hire athletes and train them into salespeople. Athletes are used to being coached, living off of feedback, and trying again and again until they get it. A willingness to learn is an important quality to look for in any hire – so if you find driven individuals that are open to feedback and personal development, do your best to pursue them and get them on YOUR team (not someone else’s). Ensure your recruiters use sports search terms when recruiting for sales positions; you won’t regret it.


Seek out go-getters. Plain and simple – find people that make it happen, rather than wait for it to happen. Look for candidates who have numbers that speak for themselves: were they actively hitting targets and achieving (or even overachieving) their goals month after month? Were they a consistent top performer on their team? If the numbers speak on paper, it tells you plenty about the person.


Perseverance and persistence are key to sales success. Rejection is a very real part of selling and salespeople have to become familiar with the word “no.” Look for candidates that aren’t easily discouraged by things not going according to plan, but become further motivated and have the ability to move forward.

Sense of Purpose

Working for the sake of working versus working to contribute to a larger meaning are two very different things. In fact, Forbes writes that working with a sense of purpose is THE thing that separates top performers from mediocre salespeople. If your candidate is solely motivated by targets, goals, and objectives, they may not have a deeper connection to your business’s pursuits and underlying purpose. Look for people who sell because they are determined that your product makes a consumer’s life better, and not for people who sell just to sell.

Britt Feltan

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