RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Finding great sales talent or creating it…

Diamonds are the hardest naturally forming material on Earth. They are known for their beauty, strength and durability. Their name comes from ancient Greek (ad?µa? – adámas) meaning unbreakable or invincible.

Contrary to popular belief, diamonds do not come from coal. They form beneath the Earth's crust, from pure carbon. Over time, pressure combined with intense heat creates diamonds. The rough material then has to be polished and cut to perfect shape before it's attractive enough to be a girl's best friend.

Great salespeople, like diamonds, take time to reach their full potential … and are not easy to find. The single most significant problem facing businesses today is finding, creating and retaining top talent. Good people and great sellers, solve most problems in any organization. Sales is a profession that can't use robots, automation or other systems to replace talent. Sure, systems can maximize performance, but people — talented people, make any system work.

Hiring mistakes are very costly to any business. Here are some shocking statistics: Over 80% of resumes contain false or misleading information. Half (yes, 50%) of your candidates will lie or exaggerate their accomplishments. There are even websites devoted to perpetuating fraud: www.nextdaydiplomas.com

Are great sellers born or created through time, training and pressure like diamonds? The short answer is yes. We do believe some people have a more natural pre-disposition to becoming successful sellers, and I believe there are those who no matter how much you work with them, will never become great sellers. In my experience, five fundamental traits help predict a person's potential to become a great seller. Diamonds have their four Cs; I believe sellers need five Cs:

Compassion - Compassion is the feeling of empathy for others.

Curiosity - An insatiable desire to know more

Competence – Expertise

Creativity - The ability to solve problems

Communication Skills

Finding great sales talent can be like digging for diamonds. You must get your hands dirty. Not all candidates will be diamonds when you meet them. Identify the must-have traits and competencies to be successful on your team. Then with a little polish (training), experience (time) and competition (pressure), you will create diamonds and solve your number one problem.

Over the years, we have developed a list of ”must-have traits” for sales success. Traits are those qualities that people have since birth. You can improve them, but traits are ingrained in the personality. Skills are learned behaviors. This is not designed to be an all-inclusive list; we are always adding to it. In our Leadership MasterClass, we advise managers to pick the top five ”must-haves.” These are the traits that, given the makeup of the team or the market, are the things that you must have. There are about 70 items on the list, and no candidate will have all the traits, which is why it's important to pick the ones most important for your situation.

If you would like a copy of this list of traits, just email me here and I'll be happy to send it. If you have traits you look for that are not on the list, it would be great if you would share those with us so we can add them.

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development