Finding the best talent to effectively grow your sales team requires a well-executed recruitment process and a concrete understanding of what the specific position you are looking to fill requires.
Interviewing involves lots of questions -- many directed at the candidate, and a few you should ask yourself after the interview is over.
There are four key questions that must be asked in the hiring, managing, training, coaching, and retention of effective salespeople. These questions are at the very center of a rep's ability to perform to any meaningful degree of sales performance.
1) Can this person sell?
The answer to this question seeks to understand the level of selling skills and knowledge a salesperson possesses. A rep could have a pleasing personality and the most positive attitude in the world and still not be able to sell.
Because there are hardly any universities that offer a degree in selling, most professional sellers develop their talent in the field. Experience will be a critical factor in assessing a person’s skill level, but keep in mind that training programs and thoughtful coaching can go miles in developing a candidate who has lots of potential.
2) How will this person sell?
Determining how an individual will sell is based on their innate behavioral style. Is a particular salesperson “too pushy?” Not pushy enough? Are they organized and structured or are they a loose cannon?
Behavioral styles spell the difference between salespeople who “farm” and those who “hunt.” Figuring out which style is most appropriate for your organization’s unique selling environment will indicate what behavioral traits to look for when hiring new talent.
3) Will this person sell?
Willingness to sell is a function of attitude and the true accelerator of sales performance. Is the person a self-starter or do you have to jump start their every effort? Can they deal with rejection? How about long hours? What is their attitude toward sales as a profession? Do they view it as a necessary evil? Do they enjoy it? How well do they handle stress?
In the final analysis, the sum total of these beliefs and many more will ultimately determine if a person will sell long term. A strong will can override a lack of selling skills, industry know-how, or even interpersonal weaknesses.
4) Why would this person choose to sell?
This is the single most important question when considering a sales candidate. Simply put, what a person is most interested in and inspired by, they will choose to do. By the same token the more enthused, interested, and excited a person is about something, the more diligently and consistently they will work at it.
This is true for any profession. However, it is especially true of sales where rejection is high, failure is a constant reality, and work levels are demanding.
The most successful salespeople are motivated by more than a paycheck. They sell with purpose, and they jump out of bed each morning with a desire to perform -- not because they have to, but because they want to. The key to finding those people and enabling them to fulfill their sense of purpose in your organization is to correctly pair their unique motivators, behaviors, and personality types to the positions you need to fill.
The perfect hire is out there, and the right assessment tool and recruitment approach will lead you to finding them, keeping them, and coaching them to greatness.
Originally published Aug 4, 2015 7:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017