What skills do salespeople typically need?
First and foremost, sales is about relationship building.
Good salespeople tend to be those who can create trust and rapport with their customer, while expertly communicating why the customer should buy what they’re selling. As a result, sales people tend to be confident and outgoing, but that’s not to say quieter people can’t be successful.
As well as creating connections with customers, sales is all about teamwork. You’ll need to be happy working closely with other sales people; knowing when to support each other, and when to step back and let someone else take on a sale.
There are a lot of other skills you’ll be expected to have. For example, your ability to negotiate and be persistent (yet polite), and how well you can flex your approach if things aren’t going your way. Having strong knowledge around what you’re selling is also valued, since it helps to elevate your expertise and build trust with your customer base.
What psychometric tests do firms use to assess these skills?
Many companies use psychometric tests as part of the sales testing process, to ensure well-rounded candidates who are as strong at numerical reasoning and written communication as they are at building relationships with their customers.
As well as these more traditional tests that assess your numerical and written skills, you may be asked to complete tests that more closely examine your personality, your ability to work through common workplace challenges and your aptitude for error checking.
So if you’re taking a sales test as part of the recruitment process for a sales role, it’s good to be prepared that you may be asked to complete any number of the following psychometric tests, outlined below.
Personality tests are designed to find out what kind of character you are, and by extension of that, how well you’re likely to fit into the role, team and overall company you’re applying to work for. This is particularly important in sales, where a person’s personality is so intrinsically linked to how successful they are at selling.
The test will be tailored to the job you’re applying for, and will ask you to select your response from a series of options in relation to the question you’ve just been asked.
Unlike a lot of aptitude tests, there’s normally no time limit on a personality test. The point is to read through the question carefully and answer honestly and instinctively. There are no ‘right or wrong’ answers, but there are answers that better reflect the ethos and values of the company.
Situational judgement tests
Similar to a personality test in that there are no ‘right or wrong’ answers, the situational judgement test will present you with a series of challenges and problems you’re likely to encounter working in sales, and ask you to choose your response from a few options.
This test is designed to give the employer a better idea of how you work, and offers them an early indication of what your strengths and weaknesses are likely to be.
Again, answering honestly is really important, but it’s always worth bearing in mind the skills and competencies a sales employer is likely to want to see demonstrated in your responses.
Numerical reasoning tests
The numerical reasoning test looks at how strong your basic mathematical skills are — essential for most sales roles.
You’ll be presented with graphs, tables and charts and asked to analyse the data in front of you in order to answer the questions.
Revisiting numerical reasoning tests before your sales test is really important. Not only will it help you to brush up on the skills you’re being tested on, it’ll also help you improve your speed (very important as the test is timed), your accuracy, and your confidence.