How to Spot Top Sales People?

How to Spot Top Sales People?

It’s pretty hard to achieve a sales goal if you don’t have the top sale people on board.



It’s even harder to find top sales reps if you don’t know what they look and sound like! While there is no 100% accurate formula that achieves sales recruitment success, let me share with you some ideas you can quickly put to use and improve your results.


Selling in today’s economy involves a well-rounded person.  Ideally, look for people who have a combination of industry knowledge, product knowledge and proper sales knowledge& know how. Most of the time, you find people with industry and product knowledge however they lack the sales knowledge or the other way around.


Ideally, find people who have all 3 areas.  If you don’t, you will need to have a plan in place to fill the gap.


Filling the gap on the selling skills front includes the following topics: prospecting skills (contacting people by phone, face to face or social media), consultative selling, getting commitment, overcoming objections, following up, doing proposals, negotiating and managing accounts.


Once you have identified the people with the above elements, you need to assess whether or not the candidates have the right competencies.  Simply put: you need to find out if they are “Switched on.”


Here are the three competencies to look for in top sales candidates.

ready to get that extra sales

  1. Desire to perform. This is the passion or drive to go above and beyond the call of duty.
  2. Compassion. Are they the kind of individuals that you enjoy having a conversation with? Do they listen to you as much as they are talking? When they talk, are they talking from their perspective or listening to what you’re saying? Are they adapting what they are saying to your requirements and needs?
  3. Perseverance. Are they willing to pay the price to figure out ways to get the results they want, especially when someone says NO?


The above three points are key elements that form the DNA of top producers.   Use behavioral event interviewing styles along with assessment centers and look for consistent results.   There are varying degrees to which these competencies can be displayed.   Mainly candidates would be either proactive or reactive with each competency.  The more proactive they are the better result they will produce.


Last quick 4 points to consider:


  1. Before appointing someone check on their cultural fit with your organization. Sometimes there are cultures within the organization that people can’t adapt to.   I would highly recommend you get help to figure that one out.
  2. Never offer a sales rep a job without testing their selling skills various times.You could do that with live role plays. Prepare multiple scenarios and have 2 other people observe the behavior.  Look for consistent results against a clear “world class” sales model.
  3. Have at least 3 qualified options for each role you want to place. Unfortunately, due to various pressures, whether time or budget, sales leaders end up with few options to choose from.The key to great recruitment is to have many options.You need to have effective campaigns where you build a large pool of qualified candidates to get what you want.   The more options you have the better decisions you make.
  4. Fast turn-around time and quality approach for all qualified applications. If you don’t get to the good candidates first, someone else will!  Make it a priority to contact all qualified candidates and ensure you have a proper follow up system in place!  I can’t tell you the amount of horror stories I’ve heard from highly qualified candidates describing their experience of screened or interviewed by various companies.  If your approach doesn’t stand out, your company won’t stand out in their minds!  In today’s world, candidates have many options!



If sales are important to you, find ways to get qualified candidates in front of you. You have to make them attracted in to your organization and show them the advantages of working with you rather than your competitor, especially if they are “switched on”and have the skills and the industry and product knowledge you want.

If you need any introduction to the resources I mention above or need help to put the above in place in your organization, let me know.

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About the Author

Ramez Helou

Ramez Helou is the founder and CEO of The Academy for Sales Excellence. You can reach him via email at

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