The Power of the First Impression

What to look for in a good sales recruit can be a very vexing question for sales and business leaders. Sales isn’t just about the salesperson, it’s about your brand, your team and goals, and the journey your prospects take on the road to becoming customers.

So, what should you be considering when it comes to recruiting for your sales team?

This depends on what are you selling and to whom.

The higher the complexity of what you are selling, the more skilful and knowledgeable your salespeople will need to be when it comes to customer engagement. 

Regardless of what you sell, at the heart of any good sales interaction and relationship is the realisation that there has been a fair exchange of value, to the benefit of both the buyer and the seller. 

Authenticity, empathy and logic are the foundations of trust. And trust must be built by salespeople and their businesses in order for buyers to feel confident in the choices they have made.


Aggressive, self-serving and desperate are sales stereotypes that plague the industry. But what makes a good salesperson and how can you tell if a candidate is the right one?

The more complex the sales process for your product or service, the more skilled and knowledgeable your salespeople need to be. 

Regardless of the type of sales and industry you’re in, there are some core competencies and skills that are common.

In any good sales interaction, both the buyer and the seller should feel that they’ve benefited from the relationship. So, traits like authenticity, empathy and logic are required for any successful salesperson. 


Relationship management and communication skills are crucial in B2B sales.  

The best thing about this is that they can be assessed in a candidate from the moment they arrive for an interview.  

Did they arrive on time? How are they dressed? How did they interact with reception staff?

This initial assessment can be a great indicator of how they’ll approach developing a relationship with new and existing clients.

It’s generally reasonably easy to work out the vibe you get from someone during your first interaction. 

Do you trust them? Do you feel they have your best interests at heart? Or, is there something not quite right? 

If you’re not getting the vibe on your first encounter, chances are prospects and clients will feel the same.

Before you even start delving into technical knowledge and capabilities, you’ll get a pretty good feel for their character, personal values, self-management, and their general ability to communicate, build trust and build relationships. 

If they wow you with first impressions, then it’s time to delve into their other skills. 

Some key competencies to consider for success in the sales environment include (but are not limited to):

  • Business nous

  • Understanding the customer

  • Understanding the market

  • Understanding sales technology and resources (although this is easily learnt)

  • Relationship building and networking

  • Account management and planning

  • Problem-solving

  • Empathy, ethics and professionalism 

  • Self-awareness and interest in personal and professional development