Having a great sales team is easy if you hire great salespeople. You must pick people that understand that consumers don’t want anything to do with overly pushy salespeople. They don’t want products or services shoved down their throats. Today’s consumers want solutions to problems that your company provides and only when they need them. It is the job of best in class sales people to understand this in their sales process. That means it is even more important that you know how to pick these best in class performers for your sales team.
So how in the world do you hire the “right” salespeople? How do you weed out the sour apples from among your batch of potential hires?
Well right off the bat, you’re going to have to understand what you expect of your salespeople. What kind of work ethic do you want them to have? Are you going to demand excellence from them? How do you expect them to interact with potential customers, actual clients, and other team members? To whom will they be accountable? You must outline your expectations in detail before you look for new team members so you know the type of person you’re looking for and the type of culture you’re creating.
Once you know who you’re looking for, it’s time to start the employee screening process. As salespeople apply for your open position, have them take a personality assessment like the DISC assessment or 16 Personalities, and follow it up with a values assessment like Barrett’s Personal Values Assessment. Then, review the results of the assessments to see if any of the applicants’ personalities and values fit in with the culture of your company.
Next comes an initial face-to-face interview with sales applicants who passed your screening process. Review the results of the assessments with them. What do they say? What do they leave unsaid? Lay out your expectations for your sales team members that you created in Step #1 to see how they respond. Do they have positive attitudes and team-oriented mentalities? Are they up-front and responsive to your behavioral contracts and compensation packages? Use this time to vet out candidates whose attitudes and values don’t align with your core values and your company’s ethos.
Typically, if applicants “pass” Step #3, you will ask them to return for a second face-to-face meeting. Yet, this time, you want to test their sales skills. You want them to “sell” you a product or service so that you can see how they interact with customers. Are they too pushy or too passive? Can they handle the pressure? Additionally, you want to see if they’re experts in this field. Do they know your products or services? Can they sell you something as simple as a pen?
Finally, before you offer sales applicants employment in your company, you want to inspect their prior sales activities. Ask for commission and income verification. Call their references. Look at their calendars and schedules. In other words, make sure your potential sales hires aren’t “selling” you false information.
ADDITIONAL READING: How to Hire the Right Employees for New Business Owners
You see, you must take your time and hire the right salespeople. Be slow about finding best in class salespeople because if you hire right, you can build a best in class sales team. If you hire wrong, you better be quick on the fire. You don’t have any time to lose when you’re trying to increase the value of your business. Be sure to listen to my podcast for more information, and join me for my next business growth article where I’ll be discussing a best in class compensation plan!
For more information on this topic, and other topics related to business owners be sure to listen to the podcast! It is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and many other popular podcast providers.