In my latest book, Journey to the Top: How to Reach Your Peak Performance Life, I tell a story about two top-ranking salespeople, Carla and Denise.
By the time I met them, both had been working for two years at a large advertising company. When they were first hired, Carla had a slight advantage over Denise, because she’d previously worked for a competitor. Carla was considered the ideal sales candidate because she had a solid client base and knew her way around the market.
Meanwhile, Denise had very little experience in sales, no existing clients, and no background selling advertising. She was hired not because she was considered the ideal sales candidate, but because the employer saw potential during her job interview. She demonstrated high ambition and a willingness to learn.
In their first months on the job, Carla quickly outranked Denise in sales. Her achievement was pretty effortless considering most of her sales came from clients she brought over from her previous company.
All Great Sales Candidates Demonstrate a Growth Mindset
How did Denise react to Carla’s great sales performance? She took these three steps (each of which demonstrated her strong growth mindset).
- She became inspired by Carla’s sales performance. This is key, because many salespeople are taught to think of other team members as a professional threat. But Denise adopted a flexible, growth-oriented mindset. She considered Carla’s performance a guiding light.
- She asked Carla to be her mentor. Again, a jealous mindset is a closed mindset; and it benefits no one. It keeps your salespeople busy with needless infighting when they should be directing their energy toward prospecting and advancing deals through the sales cycle. Fortunately, Carla was more than happy to share her knowledge about selling and the industry. Denise asked questions, observed, and accompanied Carla on sales calls.
- She identified and embraced her own selling style. During her period of observing and learning, Denise realized she wasn’t as fast-moving and gregarious as Carla. Instead of trying to mimic her colleague, Denise stayed true to herself and leveraged her own strengths to develop a winning selling style.
By the end of the year, both Carla and Denise were the company’s top salespeople.
Characteristics of the Best Sales Candidates
So, which one was the ideal sales candidate? Carla or Denise?
Both came to the table with different levels of experience, skills, and assets. But both were able to achieve peak sales performance.
The ideal sales candidate is the one who demonstrates the following attributes.
- Eagerness to learn
- Willingness to tolerate discomfort in order to grow
- Dedication and perseverance
- Collaborative spirit
- Flexible thought patterns
Denise is a prime example of showing curiosity and an instinct for staying true to her authentic self. These are traits she already possessed when she was hired, so it didn’t matter that she lacked Carla’s existing client base and experience in sales.
For her part, Carla demonstrated a collaborative spirit and flexibility to work with her less experienced colleague. Instead of hoarding her knowledge or getting knocked off balance by Denise’s request for mentorship, she shared what worked for her and was able to maintain her professional achievements on her own terms.
As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Work on the alignment of your personality and the gifts you have to give with the real reason why you are here.” Becoming the ideal sales candidate is much like facing the mountain that stands wide and high in front of you. All the tools necessary to win are already within you.
The Sales Candidate Everyone Wants to Hire
Take a few moments to reflect on the kind of mark you really want to make on the world. Can you see it clearly? How does that sense of purpose feel?
Now think of who you are as a person. What’s your personality type? What talents can help you along your journey?
A growth mindset will automatically make you the ideal sales candidate. If you’re a sales manager, the ability to recognize a growth mindset in others will help you identify the ideal sales candidate during an interview.
Register now to join me at the Sales 3.0 Conference on March 10 and 11 in Orlando, Florida. I’ll reveal more about achieving a growth mindset during my presentation, “Accelerating Sales Growth in 2020 by Building a Peak Performance Sales Team.” You’ll learn how to:
- Change the trajectory of your sales team’s success by at least 38%
- Help salespeople reach their full potential
- Teach salespeople to adopt a growth mindset that propels sales results