What it takes to be a hot salesperson

Why are some salespeople dynamos while others are duds? That question is tackled by Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein, and Patrick Sweeney, principals at Caliper, a human-resources firm in Princeton, N.J. They list five essential qualities needed to succeed in sales:

* A natural ability to understand where someone else is coming from.

* The drive to bring others around to your point of view.

* The desire to come through for others.

* The conscientiousness to complete projects.

* The ability to bounce back from rejection.

A quick way to tell if a salesperson is any good: "You don't feel you're being sold something, you feel you're dealing with a consultant, an expert," says Mr. Greenberg, a former Princeton University professor.

More than 55 percent of people in sales lack these qualities, conclude Greenberg and his colleagues, who have evaluated more than 1.5 million people over four decades. "They'd probably be doing themselves, their companies, their clients, and the rest of us a favor if they were to play to their strengths and do something completely different," says Mr. Sweeney, adding that the threesome's new book, "How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer" (McGraw-Hill), helps employers match people with the right job.

"We tell [employers] to scrap age, sex, race, even experience as hiring criteria and just look at the gut core strengths of people ... and then provide training," says Sweeney.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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