Sales Talent
Samuel Darwin
Posted in: Marketing

10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent

10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent

Building a high-performing sales team requires looking beyond just skills and experience. It’s crucial to identify candidates with innate strengths that drive sales excellence. As you evaluate new hires, focus on these 10 traits to assemble a sales force positioned for lasting success.


Sales Talent
10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent

Source: Hubspot

When seeking to enhance your sales talent, it’s tempting to zero in on credentials. Factors like education, past sales numbers, and years of experience. However, while skills and knowledge are important, research shows that top sales professionals share key innate strengths that elevate their success.

Gallup created the science of strengths and identified 34 CliftonStrengths themes sorted into four domains. This is the result of decades of rigorous research. Gallup’s studies prove that people who apply their CliftonStrengths exhibit higher engagement, productivity, confidence, goal achievement, and overall well-being. They also experience less worry, sadness, and stress.

Outcome Increase Range
Employee Engagement 7%-23%
Sales 10%-19%
Performance 8%-18%
Profit 14%-29%


The bottom line is that people who use their strengths every day are happier, healthier, and more effective. Those utilizing their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged at work and three times more likely to have an excellent quality of life.

By identifying and cultivating innate strengths in your sales team, you can reap similar benefits through boosted sales, customer loyalty, and positive culture. This guide explores 10 key traits to look for when acquiring talent.

The Innate Strengths

1. Empathy

The ability to understand others’ perspectives is pivotal for salespeople seeking to identify prospects’ needs. Empathetic sales reps forge stronger connections by relating to clients’ mindsets, challenges, and motivations. 

During interviews, look for candidates who demonstrate sensitivity to others’ needs, along with the ability to listen fully before responding. Scenarios that reveal how they’ve supported struggling clients can also provide insights.

2. Resilience

Sales Talent
10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent

Source: Hubspot

Sales roles inevitably involve rejection and setbacks. But while adversity discourages some, resilient sales reps are energized to turn things around. They possess mental flexibility, optimism, and the grit needed to analyze losses, identify solutions, and bounce back stronger.

Studies indicate that sales professionals with resilience are 21% less likely to leave their role due to burnout. When evaluating candidates, explore how they’ve navigated previous setbacks to uncover their ability to persevere.

3. Self-Motivation

Persistence and consistent effort are crucial for sales success. Self-motivated professionals own their development process and create their momentum by setting ambitious targets and holding themselves accountable. They don’t require frequent oversight or external validation.

During the hiring process, assess self-motivation by having candidates describe how they set and achieve goals. Look for those who take initiative rather than waiting for direction. The most driven individuals will showcase how they actively expand their skills and contribute beyond their core job description.

4. Adaptability

Sales Talent
10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent


Markets, client needs and internal strategies constantly evolve in sales. Adaptive professionals readily embrace change and quickly adjust their approach, tools, and messaging. This enables them to thrive in new environments and pivot strategies based on real-time insights.

Pose “what-if” scenarios during interviews to evaluate adaptability, such as: “What would you do if a top client suddenly changed direction on a key project?” The most adaptable candidates will display agility and creative problem-solving when presented with unexpected change.

5. Curiosity

Curiosity enables salespeople to forge deeper client relationships by encouraging prospects to open up. It also drives product expertise, market insights, and an innovative approach to addressing clients’ needs. Studies show that curious sales reps have 24% larger deal sizes than average.

Look for natural curiosity by observing how engaged and probing candidates are during your conversations. Assess their inclination to ask thoughtful follow-up questions that draw out customer insights. Their curiosity should be sincere rather than superficial.

6. Excellent Communication Skills

Sales and communication go hand-in-hand. Top professionals are exceptional listeners who identify verbal and non-verbal buying signals. They tailor messaging to connect with different personalities and influence decisions. Strong communicators explain complex products simply while inspiring clients with a compelling vision.

During interviews, note how well candidates listen, articulate ideas, and personalize their language and examples to you as the listener. Well-developed communication skills will be evident from their eye contact, voice modulation, and ability to engage you.

7. Competitive Spirit

Sales Talent
10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent


A healthy drive to win energizes top sales talent. Professionals with competitive spirit are motivated by targets and enjoy testing their abilities against peers. This fuels them to go the extra mile to deepen client relationships, close elusive deals and exceed expectations.

Assess competitive spirit by asking about what motivates candidates to go above and beyond. Look for the enjoyment of healthy competition and how they leverage it to boost performance. Ensure it aligns with your team culture versus overly aggressive approaches.

8. Active Listening

The strongest sales professionals don’t just communicate – they actively listen to uncover subtle customer needs. By picking up on concerns, interests, and changes in body language, they gain crucial insights to guide negotiations and tailor solutions.

During interviews, observe how focused candidates are when you speak and their ability to recall your key points. Look for how they integrate and build on details you’ve shared to personalize the conversation.

9. Problem-Solving Ability

Sales roles require quickly diagnosing prospect challenges and then devising customized solutions. Sharp problem-solving skills enable representatives to align products and services with customers’ strategic goals. 75% of buyers say understanding their needs is more important than price.

Present candidates with hypothetical sales scenarios and product questions to evaluate critical thinking. Strong problem-solvers will ask thoughtful questions, think creatively, and synthesize information to deliver solutions tailored to you.

10. Confidence

Sales Talent
10 Innate Strengths to Look for When Hiring Sales Talent


Confidence empowers salespeople to initiate contact with prospects, ask for business, and negotiate effectively. Professionals who believe in their abilities inspire trust by conveying passion and conviction when presenting offerings.

Look for candidates who maintain eye contact, speak clearly, and share examples that showcase expertise. Confident individuals won’t overpromise or exaggerate. Seek a balance of confidence with thoughtfulness when evaluating this trait.


When seeking sales talent, never underestimate the power of innate strengths. By prioritizing emotional intelligence, drive, communication skills, critical thinking, and confidence, you will identify well-rounded individuals primed for sales excellence.

Rather than simply pursuing credentials, use this guide to assess the human strengths and behaviors that separate good from great. Develop these traits across your team to build a sales culture and performance that will stand the test of time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I effectively assess innate strengths during the hiring process?

There are several techniques you can leverage. Ask probing interview questions that require candidates to provide specific examples of demonstrating these strengths. Incorporate role-playing exercises that simulate sales conversations and presentations to evaluate skills in action. Send pre-interview assignments such as developing a sample sales pitch to assess writing abilities and strategic thinking. Use sales aptitude assessments to complement interviews with data-driven insights on innate talents. And thoroughly check candidate references to confirm that claimed strengths match managers' experiences.

Which innate strengths matter most for my specific sales context?

For B2B selling, prioritize resilience, competitive spirit, curiosity, problem-solving, and adaptability to navigate complex sales cycles. B2C transactions require stronger empathy, communication skills, and listening to personally connect with consumers. Consultative selling demands excellent communication, curiosity, listening, and problem-solving to uncover client needs.

How do these innate strengths impact long-term sales performance?

Salespeople exhibiting these innate abilities are 56% more likely to exceed annual sales targets. They are 62% less likely to have poor customer retention rates. They are twice as likely to progress into sales leadership positions. And they are significant drivers of positive culture via mentoring and motivating peers.


Don’t Miss Any Future Post!

Sign up today for Exclusive Articles

    Additional Sources:

    Leave a Comment