How to Hire a Great Salesperson ?

Our best insights and know-hows for sales, marketing, and customer success teams.


Your sales team will make or break your business, so you need to make sure that it consists of only great and highly-skilled members. Thanks to recent technological advancements, you now have access to countless platforms and tools that allow you to get the help you badly need. But how exactly do you determine they’re the “right” one?

A salesperson is responsible for fostering customer trust and loyalty. Unfortunately, this isn’t a skill that can be easily taught. You might receive hundreds of applications for a job posting; however, only a few of those candidates will be capable of representing your business and its values.

Before haphazardly hiring a salesperson, consider these shocking statistics first:

  • Only 3% of all consumers trust sales representatives (Spotio)
  • The bottom 50% of the talent pool of salespeople won’t benefit or improve with additional training or support (Gallup)
  • A vacancy in the sales team costs the average company around $20,000 per week (The Leyden Group)
  • 6 out of 10 people in sales will figure out what works for them and never change (HubSpot)

The last figure may not seem so bad but keep in mind that the business landscape is constantly changing. Suppose your sales team fails to keep up with technological innovations and market developments? Your business will be stuck with old-fashioned methods that fail to deliver your desired results.

What Makes a Great Salesperson?

A good salesperson always hits their quotas and consistently delivers excellent results month after month.

However, a great salesperson regularly enjoys blow-out months and quarters with numbers that exceed their quotas. Besides closing deals, they also earn the admiration and loyalty of their prospects, which leads to referrals and more leads. They anticipate the needs of their customers, skillfully addressing issues and recommending solutions when problems inevitably arise.

Identifying a great salesperson might sound complicated, but paying attention to what they say during their interview might be as simple as paying attention to what they say. For example, here are a few factors that you should keep in mind:

  • Are they speaking about themselves with confidence?
  • Can they articulate their thoughts clearly?
  • Do they answer your questions with ease?
  • Are they able to build rapport with you and/or with the recruiter?
  • Do they exude warmth and trustworthiness?

If you’ve answered yes to all these questions, then the candidate likely has the makings of a great salesperson.

How to Find (and Hire) a Great Salesperson?

You’ll likely receive hundreds of applications, not all of which will be an excellent fit for your team. Making mistakes is inevitable; however, there are a few things you can do to minimize those errors.

Here are six tips to help you find and hire a great salesperson.

Establish the Characteristics of Your Ideal Candidate

Before publishing your job opening, think about your ideal candidate first. What qualifications do they have? How many years have they been in the industry? Should they physically be in the office, or are you all right with remote work?

Establishing a minimum set of requirements allows you to filter your pool of applicants. However, try not to be rigid with your criteria – if a candidate meets four out of the five terms you’ve set, consider interviewing them too.

Write a Compelling Advertisement

Your job listing should resonate with the persona of your ideal candidate. For instance, its keywords should reflect their minimum qualifications – if you’re looking for fresh graduates, then the term “entry-level” should be in the advertisement.

An engaging summary of your company should also be in the listing, but rather than simply copying what’s on your website, give some insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of the sales team instead. Make use of strong and authoritative language – for example, “enabling success” will sound more exciting to candidates than “overseeing projects” and “handling customer accounts.”

Conduct Interviews Strategically

While being open-minded about a candidate’s experience and background is a must, you should also identify the qualifications you aren’t willing to compromise on. Doing this allows you to conduct strategic interviews that don’t waste anyone’s time and will potentially result in a job offer.

For instance, if you’re looking to fill a role that comes with much responsibility, interviewing candidates who have little to no experience will disappoint you both. Consider their past experiences, too – what results did they achieve in their previous job? Were they given any awards?

Conducting a strategic interview also means asking thought-provoking questions that encourage the candidate to reflect. Take a look at the following:

  • How did you close your biggest sale?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. How did you manage and resolve the situation?
  • How can you establish a solid and long-lasting relationship with a prospect?
  • Were you ever criticized by your manager or co-workers? How did you respond to them?

These open-ended questions will allow you to determine if they’ll be a good fit for your business. Candidates may have excellent qualifications, but they’ll only bring trouble if they don’t mesh well with your company culture or the team dynamic.

Be Transparent About Your Needs

During the interview, you must let the candidate know what they can expect from the role. Let them understand what they’re getting into – does the team need more structure and organization? Is there a workflow that they should follow? If you hire someone without a good grasp of their responsibilities, they’ll likely only stay a few months before moving on to a better opportunity.

Be honest about the pitfalls and challenges that they’ll encounter too. This will allow them to prepare themselves for the road ahead, but you’ll also be able to weed out candidates who aren’t designed to take on the hardships.

Unless you’re looking to fill a contract position, you’re looking for a salesperson who’s in it for the long term. However, you can’t know if you aren’t transparent about the position and what it entails.


After the interview, it’s essential to observe how the candidate interacts with customers. Observe their demeanor while on a sales call or meeting with potential clients. Alternatively, you can also consider hiring people with experience in customer service roles – the traits required in such jobs often overlap with sales.

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