It is hard enough to run a business, a group, or a department. Managers, executives, and owners face the most significant challenge when it comes to finding and hiring qualified talent. Selection of sales talent can be one of the most difficult of all these related recruitment activities. There are several reasons why many people have difficulty hiring sales talent.
1) They hire personalities that are representative of typical salespeople. They make the first mistake.
2) They hire people with industry experience—their second mistake.
3) They trust their abilities and skills to recruit, interview and train their employees. Their third error.
As a candidate, an executive, a business owner, and a consultant, I have more knowledge about the process of selection than I care to admit. It is a challenging process. My experience has taught me that it is best to keep things simple, manageable, objective, and as straightforward as possible.
Here’s what I look for:
People who are self-motivated and enthusiastic have high levels of positive energy and can listen well.
Here’s what I avoid:
A typical salesperson is an industry dinosaur, an old-school sales turkey, and someone who loves telling me about how successful they were at each of their previous sales jobs.
How do I manage the recruitment and hiring process?
I don’t conduct “interviews.” I give the interview to them, and they will decide how to handle the “sales call.” At the beginning of the meeting, I told them that the purpose of this meeting was to allow us to get to know one another. Instead of me asking you a series of questions, I will give this meeting to you. It’s a sales call.
They are given a chance to show their ability to listen and learn. They can’t sell if they don’t know how to ask questions, listen, and probe for more information. If they succeed, you can move them to a deeper discussion about the opportunity and the fit.
I don’t hire people I like, and I hire people I trust. Trust is a process that takes time. Trust takes time. Interviews should include at least three meetings with people you feel have the potential to make a difference.
Only hire people I’m willing to invest in their development and training. Hire them if you’re just looking to hire another salesperson to grow your business. You don’t have the skills or time to train them. You are not ready to hire anyone if you can’t make that commitment. The greatest failure in sales hiring is not investing in the right person.
It is not easy to hire successful salespeople. NFL teams spend millions of money analyzing potential players before they draft them. Many don’t work out. The few who do succeed are hardworking, hungry, eager, and open to any opportunity presented to them.
It takes skill to put the candidate in a position where they can demonstrate their ability to solve problems and build relationships. How committed you are to your candidate’s rapid and ongoing growth is often a critical factor in their success. Hire not the average salesperson. Employ resourceful, enthusiastic people and commit to their success.