Sports fans know the importance of recruiting the right players for a team. Whatever the sport, the coach is important, but it’s the players that win or lose the game.

It’s the same with selling—you may have a great game plan, but if you don’t have good salesmen to run the plays, you’re just not going to make it to the Super Bowl (or the World Series, or the World Cup, or the NBA tournament). That’s why, when you’re building a sales team,  you want to have a sales hiring system that enables you to consistently hire winners.   

When it comes to good salesmen, one thing that winners all have in common is a competitive spirit. It’s highly improbable that your game is the only game in town, so there are going to be other sales teams running offense against your defense, and vice versa. Your salesmen will need to be effective at communicating the message of uniqueness that will make your company stand out from the competitors and convey the idea of added value to your prospects.

Standing out is probably one of the hardest things for a company to achieve in a competitive market. That’s why it’s a good idea for your salesmen to have a bit of detective skills to go along with their communication skills. It’s important to understand what’s going on in the competitors’ camps: their message, their sales strategies, their pricing. We’re not talking Watergate here, a lot of information can be gained through the publicity that’s already out there, or from casual conversations with customers to find out what makes the other guys so attractive. Once salesmen have the information, they can develop ways of presenting your product in a newer, fresher style that shines bright enough to attract the attention of prospects.

Another winning strategy of good salesmen is having a better understanding of customer needs. Even though salesmen may know a great deal about the competitors’ strategies and statistics, if the customer’s needs are ignored in the overall game plan, your team could find themselves defending the wrong goal. If you want better sales, customer needs must be factored into every offensive play.

Just as strong sports teams maintain a consistent routine of training and practice—even when they’re winning—good salesmen will persistently perform self-evaluation of their selling skills to maintain their dominance in the sales game. They never rest on their laurels, but keep making  that extra effort to rise to the next level.

That’s why every sales hire you make should have that hunger that identifies the strong players. Salesmen who indicate a tendency to value Money and Power on the AHS Values Matrix will have the hunger that good offensive players require. Once you’ve staffed your sales team with the right salesmen, just sit back and count the points on the profit scoreboard!