“It has been very hard to find good salespeople. More so, it is frustrating to hire the wrong ones and waste a lot of time and opportunities. Is there a better way to determine if sales candidates will or will not succeed?” – Anne,Human Resources Manager


I absolutely agree with you that hiring wrongsalespeople usually spawns a multitude of problems that bog down the team, zap out positive energy and much worse, allow competitors to take critical yards of trench positions that the failed hire should have covered. Thus you ask if there is a formula for selling success.  Is it possible to effectively filter candidates at the point of hiring, and if so, how? Likewise, after hiring, granted that it is unlikely that most would come in perfect match, how can they be tweaked for success?




There is aground-built ‘formula’derived from decades of Mansmith’s experience that cuts across almost every industry and straddles different types of selling, where dots are connected, analysed and synthesized into framework. This equation primarily posits emphasis on both attitudes and competence, augmented by good sales leadership and support systems, among many other factors, but it requires customized variable input to generate a complete solutioncalibrated for each type of selling.


This means that there are indicators that favor certain profiles with respect to each type of selling as well as competencies matched to scoped functions.  To illustrate such contrasts, let us say that on one side is a retail shop seller in a prestigious establishment embellished with luxurious brands and on the other, an account development person tasked to switch business from an incumbent competitor in a highly complex transaction that requires months to put together.  It does not take a hawk’s eye to particularly notice that these jobs require profile peculiarities.  The luxury brand retailer must have retail service-selling competence coupled with asincere, patient yet postured customer-centric attitude.  Such competencies include the ability to profile customer personality and dove-tail interaction. Moreover, the luxury retail shop seller must be capable of understanding shopping drivers, emotions and even shopping stages. Thereby he must have the qualified aptitude to absorb training on how to read body language and behavior to the point of efficient anticipation, a master key to enabling delivery of excellent customer experience to the most discriminating individuals.  On the other hand, the account development person tasked to steal the business from a competitor requires positive attitude towards meticulous attention to data gathering and planning. With such attitude, the new hire can refocus deal gestation-related frustration to cunning, skilful situation analysis and crafting of account switching strategy and tactics. Such positive attitude must then be matched with the aptitude to learn account strategy and as well as mastery of tool usage.Equally important to complement such is a positive attitude towards careful and tactically-anchored execution of selling mechanics and most likely negotiations, so that such skills may be effectively transplanted.




The people conducting the search must have a good understanding of the type of selling function to be filled in.  Based on the type of selling function, a model profile can be constructed comprised of attitude indicators and aptitude factors that are predictive of success. This model profile shall then be utilized in the proper selection of candidates.  After hiring the best fit candidates, they should be provided the needed knowledge, relevant skill development and critical tools to better ensure that they will succeed in their selling function. Periodic assessment can highlight further development needs or filter out those who can’t kineticize their promising potentials for one reason or another. In the end, these should all converge to cast appropriate candidates for respective sales roles and mold them further to deliver consistent, outstanding performance, while secondarily filtering out once more, those full of potential but short on actual delivery.


RowenUntivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing, sales, strategy and innovation training company.  Rowen is a veteran of Training, Coaching and Consulting and has more than a quarter of a century of successful sales, buying and negotiation practice. He is the pioneering developer of many original frameworks and tools in sales management, selling mechanics, strategic account development,retail sales optimization, tactical and strategic negotiation, and many more valuable contributions to the wealth of knowledge and best practices in business science. While most of his training programs through the years continue to be tailored specific to companies. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to mentors@mansmith.net. You can alsovisit www.mansmith.net.