On Hiring a Salesperson

Hiring is difficult. Hiring salespeople is exponentially more difficult. It is a complex human interaction, and there are wide variances in performance. A work history in sales may tell you part of the story, but some salespeople who succeed in one environment and selling one product fail in another environment—even when that environment has other people who are succeeding.

Here are some thoughts about hiring salespeople. If you are a salesperson looking for work, reverse this and ask yourself these questions:

Did the salesperson pick up the phone and call you? If they did not, why would they pick up the phone and call your prospects? You might use email effectively as part of a prospecting campaign, but you would never use it as your sole method, would you? You would never want your salesperson to spray and pray, would you? You would want the salesperson you hire to give themselves the best chance for success, and that means two-way communication.

Did they prepare for the meeting? Did they have good questions about the business? Did they bring anything to the conversation? Is the person sitting across from you a business person? If they aren’t, can you tell that they are going to grow up to be one? If the only question they ask you is about the product or their compensation, you have cause for concern. Questions about the business are critical.

Is there a reason to believe that your clients are going to want to buy from this salesperson? What are those reasons? There is no better test. Why are your clients going to want to buy from this salesperson? Are they likeable, with fast rapport skills? Do they have the ability to create value for your clients in a meeting?

Did they follow up? Was it by email? Was it by telephone? Was it more than once? You know that salespeople is going to have to follow up. What does it mean when they don’t follow up? Maybe they don’t want the job. Maybe they don’t want to work that hard. Maybe they’ve never been taught how to follow up. A phone call is better than an email.

Did they ask for the job? You want your salespeople to ask for the business when they’ve done enough to deserve it. It demonstrates confidence and commitment. It demonstrates that they aren’t conflict averse, and they are okay hearing “no” and moving forward. You don’t want to hire someone who is going to wait for the client to decide and let them know.

You are hiring a salesperson, not a person. You’re looking for salesmanship.

Filed under: Sales Acumen

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