Each person and company is different, but a few key warning signs exist that may indicate whether someone might be a bad fit for your sales team.

Not asking questions: Humility is important in building relationships with customers, as well as internally with your own team. Good sales people know the conversations are about their customer’s issues, not their own. Easy to say – not easy to do. Good Sales people talk 30% of the time, and listen 70%. Customer comments should be followed by another question, not a quick solution. You must truly understand your customer. You only get there by listening and asking questions.

Your Sales people need to be sponges, soaking up customer and market knowledge. Information is power. Be direct when coaching them – just as your Dad was with you… “Jimmy, shut up and listen.”

Blaming Others, or the Economic Environment: The person you want on your team takes ownership of the issues, finds a way to mitigate them, and attacks the market. Sure sales may be down because markets have shrunk, but your “A” player is laying foundations, planting seeds, and helping your customer prepare for a rebound. They see the opportunities ahead.

It’s a tough economy – and it’ll only be tougher if the people on your sales team aren’t living up to their full potential. If you’re looking to develop a top-notch sales group, there are three warning signs of people to avoid. Here’s the last one:

Excuses, Excuses, and no Suggestions: Nobody closes 100% of their potential business. So, just know your team will come back at times without the Purchase Order. That is okay at times. The true test is HOW they come back. Are these the comments you hear – “Our customer just doesn’t understand. They don’t know what they want. We just can’t deliver what they need. Out top competitor got the job and I don’t know why.”

When your team comes to you with bad news, they better also come with suggestions on how to perform better in the future. That’s not just a sign of a good Sales person, but shows confidence and strength of character.

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