Even the most talented sales professionals recognize that they still have a lot more to learn. They work hard at their craft and listen when their managers offer guidance. They want to know more and learn how to do better—that’s what makes them coachable.

Just like sports teams, every sales team has players who are coachable and those who think they already have it figured out. Author and sales expert Kevin F. Davis says that to build a team of coachable employees, sales managers should look for certain tangible qualities during the interview process.

Want to be sure your next hire is a coachable one? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we share Davis’ top tips for hiring a coachable salesperson.

1. Look for humility. Humility is an important trait to look for during the interview process. In contrast to the bold and brash individuals exuding self-confidence, individuals with humility will almost always be coachable. Davis says you can spot humility by asking, “Tell me about the largest sale you ever lost and why you think you lost it.” This is more helpful than hearing about the largest sale someone ever made. With the response, you can learn whether the sales rep acknowledges gaps in their skills or knowledge. Admitting these gaps is an indication of humility.

2. Reevaluate your job applications. Think about your current team. Who are the most coachable sales reps? Davis says a useful exercise is to identify these coachable employees and look back on their applications. Do you see any patterns? Davis admits that his most coachable salespeople were candidates he considered slightly underqualified when he hired them. Once he discovered this, he started looking for candidates seeking a career advancement. Those who have a fire in the belly to achieve and accomplish more will often turn out to be your most coachable employees.

3. Test for coachability by role playing. Before bringing someone on board full time, Davis recommends testing their coachability using a role-play scenario. With the candidate as the salesperson, ask the candidate to self-evaluate. Then, offer them a few suggestions. Return to the role play and see if the candidate implemented what you said. If yes, you know you have someone who will value what you say and make a concerted effort to improve.

Coachability is an important trait in sales professionals. It’s not a technical skill or inherent ability – it’s a mindset. Rather than looking solely at candidates’ credentials and degrees, ask them insightful questions to gauge their humility. You can also look for a common thread among your current coachable employees. When you take the time to hire only the most coachable sales reps, you will build a powerhouse sales team that is constantly striving to get better.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kevin F. Davis has more than 30 years of experience in sales. He has worked his way up from sales rep, to sales manager, to general manager, and is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness: 10 Essential Strategies for Leading Your Team to the Top.