As a business owner, you know the importance of building a great sales team. Your business lives or dies depending on how well your sales team sells your products.

You also know the “hard” qualities you’re looking for when it’s time to hire salespeople. You need go-getters who track down leads, build relationships and networks, and close deals.

But a savvy applicant knows what you are looking for, and they mold themselves into the perfect interviewee. They study the parameters of the position and the history of your company and easily present themselves as the perfect candidate only to fail later to meet expectations.

Applicants don’t do this to be dishonest or duplicitous; rather, applicants are so eager to impress and land the job that they will work harder to perfect their interview persona than they will to maintain that illusion after being hired.

However, this situation leaves you as the business owner with a problem.

Save yourself time and frustration by uncovering applicants’ soft skills as well as the hard skills you’ve become accustomed to looking for.


What Are Soft Skills?

Every hiring manager knows that soft skills are harder to teach than technical skills, making applicants who demonstrate higher soft skill levels the most promising. When hiring salespeople, the best approach to identifying soft skills is to understand and analyze the personality of each applicant, rather than relying on their carefully rehearsed interview answers.

According to sales assessment testing experts, the most sought-after soft skills usually boil down to these 8 distinct areas:

  • Leadership
  • Self-Motivation
  • Interpersonal and Social Style
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Organization

There are other soft skills to be on the lookout for during the interview process, too. For instance, is the candidate adaptable? Does he or she have emotional intelligence?


How Will Soft Skills Make Your Sales Team Better?

What separates great salespeople from merely good ones are their soft skills. Moreover, if your sales team is made up of people with a good balance of hard skills and soft skills, your entire business will thrive.

One basic soft skill that is often overlooked is that of active listening. In business, the best sales tactic is to always be on the lookout for ways to open the door to new relationships and clients. This is why great salespeople listen more than they speak. That’s because understanding the customer’s needs is the first step to selling them what they want. By listening more than speaking, it is easier to accommodate what that customer is actually looking for.

After all, top-notch salespeople are not just trying to make a sale. They know they are building a business relationship. The best salespeople focus on one customer at a time. Additionally, they are always leveraging that last customer into more customers.

Great salespeople—that is, salespeople with a good balance of hard and soft skills—have the ability to see every sales attempt, whether it’s successful or not, as an investment. The best of the best don’t see failed sales attempts as actual failures, but rather as investments in the process of sales itself. The right salesperson is always aiming for ways to improve, to grow, to better execute. They invest heavily in their careers—which means, by extension, that they are investing in your business and your clients.

How Can You Discover Candidates’ Soft Skills?

If you have problems finding people with soft skills, the solution is to use an online sales assessment test for your sales recruitment needs. This is because the phrase “soft skill” is something of a misnomer, implying that these skills can be taught, when in reality, soft skills are not skills at all. Rather, they are personality characteristics that are inherent to the individual.

Study after study shows us that interviews usually fail to evaluate these soft skills. Because applicants can prepare so carefully for an interview, managers are often fooled by the image that savvy applicants portray.

Conversely, online assessment tests better expose and analyze applicant personality traits necessary for success. For example, incorporate an online psychometric assessment test into your recruiting process. This will allow recruiters and managers a chance to accurately and economically gauge an applicant’s core traits. Such an assessment could help you to avoid a costly hiring mistake.