Winning the Sales Game

Winning the Sales Game

Selling is not a job for the lazy, the complacent, the incurious or the un-ambitious.

Selling is a profession for the eager person, the activist, the listener, the thinker, the doer.

To succeed in the sales profession, one must be, more than anything else, willing to hear a ton of “no” to get to the golden “yes” that rings the cash register, makes the heart pump faster and, of course, brings home the bacon for the company and the family.

Although many of us may have a stereotypical sales person in mind, there truly is not a simple model of success or personality type that does especially well at the work. That being said, of course, there are some characteristics that seem to be extremely helpful to getting good at selling and making one’s way in the world.

Certain pre-employment testing systems measure particular qualities that they have found, over time, are likely to make sales people be successful.

IBT uses Profiles International to assess sales candidates. The company created a “job match profile” by evaluating a series of high-performers and creating a model for the type of individuals who excel in the IBT selling environment.

One of the benchmarked sales people was Pat Pollard, now a regional manager. Pollard reports that IBT uses a test program that measures applicants in five dimensions and predicts seven critical sales behaviors.

The five dimensions include:

  • Competitiveness: Persuasive; confident; assertive.
    This is enthusiasm for competitive activity and an expressed desire to win.
  • Self Reliance: Independent; individualistic.
    Strongly self-reliant people rarely need nor want direct supervision. They focus on getting the job done.
  • Persistence: Persevering; unwavering; emotionally tough.
    People willing to stay focused on tasks and stick with it until completion.
  • Energy: High endurance; spontaneous; fast-paced.
    Willingness to act in the here and now and seek excitement with high energy.
  • Sales Drive: Success-oriented; internally driven; outcomes focused.
    Focused drive that motivates to action and stays focused on outcomes.

The seven critical selling behaviors:

  • Prospecting: Self-motivated; determined; energetic.
    Overcomes difficulties. Gathers information and performs the fundamentals of prospecting.
  • Closing the Sale: High competitive drive.
    Sees closing as a means to an end and possesses the need to set goals that exceed expectation.
  • Call Reluctance: Resistant to rejection; overcomes call reluctance.
    Has the innate drive to push through periods of doubt.
  • Self-starting: Energetic; driven; able to take initiative to get things going.
    Employs self-directed goals to keep challenged.
  • Working with a Team: Enjoys friendly competition; has above average competitive strivings.
    Has competitive strivings but not to the detriment of other team members.
  • Building and Maintaining Relationships: Strong persistence; self-sufficiency.
    Allows the person to provide the needed push to keep things moving, especially if the other party is resisting.
  • Compensation: Self-reliance; highly developed sales drive.
    Money and cash reward are important but may be secondary to the chase and sense of winning that comes with a successful sale.

In addition to these dimensions and behaviors, the Profiles International process that IBT uses also measures sales candidates along thinking scales, behavioral scales and interest scales.

Thinking Scales
Behavioral Scales Interest Scales
Learning Index
Verbal Skill
Verbal Reasoning
Numerical Ability
Numerical Reasoning
Energy Level
Objective Judgment
People Service


“Putting our candidates through these assessments,” Pollard observes, “enables us to make a somewhat scientific evaluation of the people. As a result, we are able to make well-considered hires. We learn a great deal about our prospective people and the assessments give us insight for focused interviewing. Since we have established good information about the people who are already working for us, we think we have a good handle on the type of person who can be successful with our clients.

“In our experience, our customers appreciate the rigor of our pre-employment process and the quality of the individuals we hire. I invite prospects to think about whether they get the kind of quality from their current suppliers that is available through the individuals we hire. And, we also invite the prospects to consider that we hire good people, train them to a fare-the-well, back them up with an in-depth inventory of the best products from world class vendors, and have them represent a well-established, well-managed company with a stellar reputation for integrity. One of our old slogans really says it all: ‘Why go anywhere else?'”

If you would like to be called on by a high quality IBT sales representative, or if you think you are the type of individual IBT is looking for, contact Pat Pollard.


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