Thursday, 11 September 2008

Do you have to be smart to be good at selling ?

I'm helping a client recruit some new sales people. As part of the process we're using various psychometric and sales skills tests. We have one candidate who has a proven successful track record and seems to tick all the boxes.... except that his IQ comes out at 75. An IQ of 100 is average, so 75 is significantly below average, putting him in the bottom 5% of the population. Now, I generally work on the assumption that for a salesman to be consistently successful he needs an IQ of at least average (otherwise, most people that he'll be trying to sell to will be 'smarter' than him).
In this case however, the role is simple commodity products, so no great challenge in learning about the products. His score on the sales skills test came out good in all areas and his face to face skills seem good (at least in an interview).
One view is that in this case, experience, previous success, sales skills and social skills should out-weigh a low IQ. What do you think ? Would his low IQ stop you giving him the job ?

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