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Beyond the Resume: The Importance of Soft Skills in Sales Recruitment & How to Assess Them
In the world of sales, having a solid resume and excellent technical skills is not enough to make a successful career. Equally important are soft skills, which are essential to build and maintain strong relationships with clients. Soft skills are personal attributes that enable individuals to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. By prioritizing soft skills in sales recruitment, sales managers can build strong sales teams that are better equipped to succeed in the competitive world of sales.
The Importance of Soft Skills in Sales Recruitment
Sales is a people-oriented profession. To succeed in sales, a salesperson must have excellent interpersonal skills. Soft skills are particularly important in sales because they enable a salesperson to:
- Build trust
Clients are more likely to do business with someone they trust. A salesperson who has excellent communication skills and who is empathetic is better able to establish a connection with clients, which can lead to greater trust.
- Understand client needs
A salesperson who is a good listener and who is able to read non-verbal cues is better able to understand the needs of their clients. Understanding a client’s needs enables a salesperson to tailor their pitch and ultimately close the deal.
- Manage objections
Clients may raise objections during the sales process. A salesperson who has excellent negotiation skills and who is able to manage objections effectively is more likely to close the deal.
- Build relationships
Sales is a relationship-based profession. A salesperson who has excellent soft skills is better able to build long-term relationships with clients, which can lead to repeat business and referrals
How to Assess Soft Skills in Sales Recruitment
Assessing soft skills in sales recruitment can be challenging. Here are some ways to assess soft skills in candidates:
- Behavioral interviewing
Behavioral interviewing is a technique that involves asking candidates to provide examples of how they have demonstrated certain soft skills in the past. For example, a sales manager might ask a candidate to describe a time when they had to manage a difficult client and how they resolved the situation.
Role-playing exercises can be a useful way to assess a candidate’s communication skills, negotiation skills, and ability to manage objections. For example, a sales manager might ask a candidate to role-play a sales call with a difficult client.
- Personality assessments
Personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the DISC assessment, can provide insight into a candidate’s personality traits and how they might fit into a sales team.
- Reference checks
Reference checks can be a valuable way to assess a candidate’s soft skills. A sales manager might ask a candidate’s previous supervisor about their communication skills, ability to work in a team, and ability to manage difficult clients.