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

Here’s the key to spotting and hiring a superstar salesperson.  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 superstar salespeople of any industry all describe who they are, not what they know.

Let’s consider each one.

Fifth on our list is A SELF-IMAGE OF SUCCESS.

Psychologists have long known that people tend to live up to their image of themselves. We all understand that.

Every one of us can think of individuals in our own lives who have lots of ability and potential, but who never live up to that potential because of their poor self-image.

Somewhere, usually in their childhood, they developed a poor self-image, and began to think of themselves as incompetent, unable, or unworthy.  This view of themselves colors all of their actions as an adult, and they live out a self-fulfilling interior prophecy.

That psychological truth of human behavior applies to salespeople also. It’s just that it is sometimes more subtle and hard to assess.

For example, we’ve all heard stories about the $20,000 and the $60,000 salesperson.  Put a salesperson who has made $20,000 into a territory that produced $60,000 in commissions, and he’ll eventually bring it down to $20,000.  Put the $60,000 salesperson in a territory that produced only $20,000 of income, and he’ll eventually bring it up to $60,000.

While this example may be a little extreme, the point it illustrates is, nevertheless, true.  Salespeople tend to live up to (or down to) their image of themselves.

I remember one of the first salespeople I hired.  He had everything — intelligence, experience, ability to create profitable business relationships, and even some appropriate product knowledge and experience.  And, he had been in a couple of unfortunate situations in his past jobs, and needed the financial success that came with the opportunity I was offering. I saw that as providing the necessary motivation to succeed.

But, what I hadn’t counted on was his self-image.  While he had all the necessary ingredients, and while he had reason to be motivated and work very hard, he also had an image of himself as a failure — someone who could never shake that bad luck and economic hardship that he saw as his lot in life.  He found a way to fail.  And, within six months, the territory was vacant again.

Remember, while self image can be changed, it’s a long and difficult process with no guarantee.  So, like so many other traits, it’s much easier to hire someone with a positive self-image of success, then it is to create that in a person after he/she’s been hired.


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