The Perfect Solution Sales Rep: 7 Proven Traits To Hire Right The First Time

Find the perfect solutions sales person is possible with the right things to look for.

Find the perfect solutions sales person is possible with the right things to look for.


Hardware sales for all the OEMs are delivering less revenue per placement.  Market share for hardware placements isn’t growing and OEMs are battling it out to win more of existing market placements.  It’s more competitive than ever out there, and as a dealer principal you know that your sales representatives have to do more than ever to stay on top.  If you’ve been in the office equipment channel long enough you realize that the days of your sales team knocking it out of the park simply by selling boxes is no longer enough.

Knowing is only half the battle, as they say.  As a progressive office equipment dealer looking to beef up your sales organization how do you make sure you get the right candidates? Do you already have the right people? What are the characteristics of those that will be successful in selling solutions and services beyond the box?  The key to hiring great solutions sales representatives is having a good understanding of the characteristics that top talent must possess.  Here are the 7 proven traits you should be looking for to make sure you get those hires done right the first time!

Proven technical acumen:  We’re not saying that they should be coders but any good solution sales representative gets excited by how things work.  They need to be excited by advances in cloud-based solutions,  to understand the different security concerns and benefits that come with server based vs. client based solutions and be comfortable having an I.T. level conversation.  Solution level selling is a “C” level sale, and in our modern business culture that often involves a “CTO” or “CIO” as well as the CEO.

Upsell Savvy: Good solution sales people sell once but GREAT solution sales people understand that every quarter is an opportunity to get more share of the customer wallet.  By understanding the upsell sales philosophy they will win more deals more often and continue to chase new dollars in your existing accounts.  We all know that it’s easier to sell more to existing clients than it is to secure net-new clients, so upsell savvy will be paramount to their success.

Swagger:  What is “swagger”? It isn’t arrogance or over-confidence.  Swagger is the perfect blend of confidence based on expertise and the ability to deliver.  Genuine swagger is contagious because it is earned.  A solution sales person with swagger can shorten sales cycles dramatically because it elicits trust and demonstrates a person who can do more.

Social Butterfly:  We don’t mean a person who likes going to parties.  By social we mean somebody who lives online and makes use of the latest social tools to stay engaged with prospects and customers.  They will have an exemplary LinkedIn profile and contribute regularly.  They will belong to online forums and groups where customers go in search of solutions to problems.  If they don’t have an engaging and active LinkedIn and Twitter profile, move on to the next candidate as fast as you can.  When it comes to selling modern solutions there are no dinosaurs allowed.

Flexible:  One of the key traits of great solutions sales people is their ability to listen and be flexible.  One solution does not fit all and solution sellers understand that listening, being flexible and tailoring solutions are key elements to solving customer problems and winning more business.  A solution approach to sales often fails because the sales person doesn’t do a good enough job building solutions that genuinely help make customers lives easier and more efficient.

Lifelong Learners:  When interviewing a candidate ask questions to get a feel for how they view learning?  Do they view learning as important ?  Ask questions about when  is the last time they took a course? What were the last 2 books they read and when?  What kind of articles and blogs do they follow?  The modern digital age changes at breakneck speed and good solution sales representatives will have to have a natural inclination to be learning all the time.

Open minded:  Old-school sales folks often say that solution sales are wishy washy and are a waste of time, that selling products you can feel and touch are the only true ways to  bring in revenue.  Software solutions, digital transformation tools and workflow improvement paradigms are very real, very profitable, and changing offices for the better.  Somebody is selling security solutions, user and document management solutions, and they are making a ton of money doing so. Make sure one of those people is on your team.


By looking for these 7 proven traits of successful solution sales representatives you’ll hire less often and grow your organization in new ways.  Now it’s your turn! Are there other characteristics you’ve found that are not detailed in this article? Do you have your own profile of what a great solutions sales person looks like that you would be willing to share? Let’s have the conversation by leaving your comments!

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