We all want to hire star sales people.  Finding one, however, is more difficult than you can imagine.

Here’s the key to spotting and hiring a star sales person.  Don’t be sidetracked by what he/she knows relative to products or industries, and don’t be blinded by how he or she looks.  Instead, concentrate on who he/she is.

These six qualities of character that mark star sales people of any industry all describe who they are, not what they know.

Let’s consider each one.

The third quality necessary for star success in sales is the ABILITY AND PROPENSITY TO LEARN.

I’m not talking strictly about acquiring knowledge in the sense that one learns in school.  For the successful salesperson, the ability to learn means the ability to evaluate a situation, and then to modify or make adjustments in his/her behavior as a result.

In today’s environment, there are a number of areas in which a good salesperson must continually be inquiring, learning, and changing his/her behavior.

The first of these is his/her own sales skills.  Sales is an area of endeavor where a person is never as good as he/she could be.  There is always some skill that can be learned or enhanced.  The successful salesperson never considers himself or herself to have arrived, but is constantly looking for ways to refine and enhance his/her sales skills.  It’s a lifetime learning process.

Then there is product knowledge.  In addition to sales skills, today’s fast-paced technology means that new products, new applications, and new technologies are entering the market at record rates.  To keep up with all of this, the salesperson needs to be able to quickly understand the technical nature of new products.

But most importantly, the salesperson must learn how to change his behavior to meet the needs, drives, and personalities of his customers.  The successful salesperson is a chameleon.  He/she changes his behavior and, to some extent, his personality, to meet the ways in which different customers want him to behave.  It is the ultimate business application of the golden rule:  Do unto others that which you would have them do unto you.

The operative rule for a salesperson is this:  Treat others the way they want to be treated. This means, first, being perceptive to the way different people want to be treated, and, second, adapting their behavior to that expectation.

That takes the ability and propensity to learn.  That takes people who can be perceptive, who can think about their past actions and the responses those actions stimulated, and then change and adapt those actions.

Picture the mouse in a maze.  The mouse who can learn from his actions only bumps into the dead end once or twice.  The next time he tries turning to the right to avoid the brick wall in his path.  While the mouse who can’t learn drives again directly into the wall blocking his path.

That ability to assess a situation, to consider the effects of his behavior, and to change that behavior based upon the personalities and intricacies of each situation, requires the ability to learn.

If a sales person has that, he will eventually figure it out, and become successful.


If hiring star sales people is a challenge for you, you may want to consider our on-line course:  How to Find, Interview, Select and Hire a Good Sales Person.