Top 4 Characteristics Of A Competent Paints And Coating Industry Salesperson


Improving customer loyalty, increasing sales, and driving sales gains. These are the top goals within any industry.  The million-dollar question is always HOW to attain those goals.

The sales skills needed to achieve those goals differ within different industries. Within those industries, there are also different skills required when selling different products or services.

Given that they are selling a product meant to impact a huge part of the customers’ daily lives—either their workplace or their homes—paints & coatings salespeople need to be qualified to stay on top of the company’s sales process and be proficient at building trust with their buyers.

After recruiting for exceptional paints and coatings sales people for the past 20 years, we have put together a list of 4 key skills that are critical for success when selling Paints and Coatings:

1.     Core passion for service

The fact is paints and coatings sales people are selling a product that will be a part of their daily life. Therefore, it is extremely important to listen to your clients needs. Successful paints and coatings sales professionals are adept at putting their clients needs first, and being passionate about delivering what they need .

Without passion, without consideration for customers who are building homes and for the team communicating with those customers on a regular basis, it’s impossible to perform well in a paints and coatings sales position. An attitude of servitude is essential for success.

2.     Team Mentality

It takes a team effort to make and KEEP a client happy when selling them paints and coatings. No one person can effectively do all the things required to service a client.

Sales executives and managers need to work together as a  team. The sales process is not black-and-white, pardon the pun!  When a sales team member needs help with something in the sales process or client servicing after the sale, the rest of the team—including both their peers and leaders—need to be there for them, working as one unit. Keeping Clients happy after the sale to ensure that they will be repeat customers takes an entire teams effort. If after sale service is lacking, it will be just as detrimental to bottom line profitability as lackluster efforts in new business development.


3.     Listening and communication

Good communication is the foundation for all sales roles, and  therefore critical important for sales professionals within the Paints and Coatings industry.  The ability to actively listen to a clients needs, and then articulate both their pain points  and also a solution, is critical to success. Without being able to do an effective needs analysis, and then coming up with a viable solution, a sales person will not get far .

At one point, a sales manager’s job was about paperwork and managing interests. Today, it’s about keeping the team motivated and customers devoted. It’s about developing trusting relationship with primary accounts and stakeholders. Active listening is the very first step in creating the type of sales team that achieves its goals.

A salesperson can’t maintain an understanding of customers’ needs, identify top trends in the housing market and realize how their team prefers to work—unless they are excellent communicators. They should be able to effectively convey the status of ongoing projects and the goals with both senior management and technical staff.

4.     Understanding how a sales pipeline works

Each and every salesperson has the responsibility to understand key business metrics and sales goals to forecast outcomes. In order to achieve sales goals, it is essential to understand the metrics involved in your teams individual sales. How many presentations are needed to result in a sale? How many calls and emails does it take to get a presentation? The answers to these questions are the fundamentals to success. Without having access to this data, sales turns into a game of luck.  By understanding the metrics needed for success, your sales managers can manage expectations and hold their reps accountable for achieving set goals at each step of the sales pipeline.

The question that begs to be asked is once you identify these core critical skills necessary for success for sales professionals within the Paints and Coatings industry, how do you tell if the candidate sitting in front of you possess those skills?

The good news is that we now have the ability to do psychometric testing that can determine if someone is ‘hard wired’ for success within a specific role. Determining if a candidate is just saying what you want to hear, or if  they have the intrinsic motivators that are required to excel within your specific role, gives hiring managers a tremendous advantage.

For a sales assessment which measures both innate psychometrics and sales style, ISC recommends  SalesPro  by Select International .

">Brian Dishman and his team at Select International  have a stellar reputation in helping companies determine which candidates have the highest probability of success based on an assessment of their sales competencies, sales style, and intrinsic motivators. Having this information prior to making hiring decisions can give users a dramatic edge in predicting future sales success . You can reach Brian directly at  to give yourself every available advantage when making hiring decisions. 

Since 1999, International Search Consultants has been providing exceptional candidates to our clients within the Paints and Coatings industry. Our experienced Paints and Coatings Sales Recruiters have a solid track record of identifying and delivering peak performers, often times from direct competitors, to our clients interview tale. Our team of  executive recruiters and sales headhunters can make it effortless for you to find experienced and driven paints and coating sales professionals. Fill out an online job search form today!