author-matt-hermanThe world of sales can be brutally competitive. Companies simply can not survive unless they close a significant number of profitable sales – that’s a given. As a direct result, the demand for great sales professionals has grown to unprecedented heights over recent years. The simple reality is this: strong sales professionals drive new revenue.

The challenge for most companies is finding the right talent to fill their rosters. A candidate that possesses a stellar resume and looks great on paper doesn’t always translate to sales success. That is why identifying sales skills during the interview process is one of the most significant challenges companies face. All too often, candidates are not screened properly and the blame falls on the shoulders of recruiters, human resources, and sales management. When a bad hire is made, companies often experience a significant setback, and in severe cases, stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars along the way.

It is crucial to make the right hire; that is why Matthew James Media Company, LLC has developed a screening process that will assist you in the selection process by identifying critical sales skills, business astuteness and recognizing a candidate’s intangible abilities. 

Unseen Power: 12 intangible sales skills that will bring your organization to the next level

Here are the 12 intangible skills that successful sales candidates must have in order to bring your organization to the next level:The Game of Busines to Business Sales

1. Ambition.

A Significant level of motivation, fortitude and impeccable work ethic is essential for success in any profession. Keep in mind that a relatively young candidate with no kids, who grew up in an affluent household and possesses a four-year degree from an esteemed university, may surprisingly have far less ambition and fortitude than that of a single mother with a junior college degree. When it comes to finding a strong sales candidate, personal characteristics and background don’t often matter much; what does matter is their drive.

2. Determination.

Evidence of determination is what Mort Zuckerman, CEO of Boston Properties, says he looks for in a job candidate. You should, too.

3. Excellent communication skills.

Without stellar communication skills, a sales professional cannot build trust.  A strong sales professional will always possess strong listening, verbal and written communication skills.

4. Relationship/trust building.

Win the client’s trust and win the business – that’s the golden rule of sales. One’s ability to connect with clients on a personal level is key to their ability to close the sale. Sales professionals  must illustrate an ability to naturally build critical relationships and develop strategic partnerships with new prospects and current clients. 

Place a classified ad5. Empathy.

Sales professionals must be empathetic (compassionate) to the needs of their clients, which includes aligning their goals with those of their clients.

6. Intuition.

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators in recent times – including Oprah, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Bill Gates and Donald Trump – have all admitted that intuition played a significant role in their overall success.

7. Leadership qualities.

Great leaders are always successful. People will (and like to) follow those who are strong in their convictions and believe in what they’re doing (purpose, product, service, etc.).

8. Competitive spirit.

In order to survive in a competitive business environment, a sales professional must possess a tenacious drive to win.

9. Passion.

To be successful in sales, one must be passionate about:

• Winning clients’ trust. (Winning trust equals winning business!)
• Improving clients’ or prospective clients’ businesses.     
• Understanding clients’ challenges and unique business environments.
• Helping clients grow their business with unique service offerings and products.
• Their organization’s core values, beliefs, products, and services.
• Improving every day. 

10. Strategic thinking.

Strategic thinkers are always several steps ahead of the competition.

11. Lack of contentment.

I’m extremely content in my marriage and also with many of my personal relationships with friends and family. But, in business, one should never be content. Professionals, especially those in sales, should always strive to improve. It’s absolutely vital that sales professionals stay hungry and focused on driving new revenue. I’ve seen too many sales professionals experience success only to become comfortable, and immediately, contentment sets in. When contentment sets in, it can violently strike a professional’s career like a horrible plague. The end result? A hungrier competitor will reap the rewards! A good candidate will show promise that he or she will not grow content, but continue to seek improvement.

12. Business astuteness.

Does the job candidate understand EBIDTA and IRR margins? Do they understand market trends and how the financial markets work? Are they privy to private equity and venture capital? Do they understand the principals of macro and micro economics? What business publications do they read? A great sales professional simply understands how the business world works. Be sure the ones you hire know about the world in which they are applying to work.

One thing is for certain: a great sales professional doesn’t learn intangibles skills in a college lecture hall. Intangible skills are part of an individual’s DNA; they are learned through life’s experiences, maturity, failures and successes. And remember, an older professional doesn’t always mean a more mature professional. Age and education won’t always define the best candidate to add to your sales team, but one who possesses these 12 critical intangible sales skills will surely bring your business to the next level.