One of the most important functions of a sales leader is to recruit, train, coach, and ultimately develop productive salespeople. I have a quote by someone (not sure who) in my #Evernote stack that says, “People make the difference…between success and failure…mediocrity and greatness”. This truth is never more evident than when recruiting a sales person. Hiring and developing a quality sales rep can be the difference in millions of dollars of revenue to a company.
The challenge for sales managers then is, “How do I hire the RIGHT rep?”
I learned a lesson from sports on this one. Listening to a coach discuss his template for recruiting defensive backs triggered the idea. Specs were discussed on height (tall to guard the tall receivers that have emerged) speed, wing span, etc.
So what qualities are desirable for sales people? Do you have a template that you have created and then match the potential candidate again that standard?
You should, if you have not already, compose your own template. Mine includes, how well do they talk on the phone (sales people should use the phone for prospecting and serving accounts frequently) what kind of first impression do they make in person (a first impression is all we get sometimes with a prospect).
How well do they follow up with me on the interview. Follow up is critical in sales.
Do they talk about themselves during interviews or do they try to turn the conversation to me and my needs (isn’t this what we want them to do when interacting with prospects?)
How successful have they been up till now (in school if they are a young person or in previous jobs if they have had some employment experience). Do they have proof of success (transcripts for students or sales numbers if they have experience in sales)? Of course, we want solid references.
Does the candidate have a positive attitude? Do they view life as glass half full or half empty? All these traits are necessary.
However, the most important element in my template, is this; what kind of ambition or drive does this person posses? Are they the kind of person that has determined they will be a winner in their career and in life?
A person that is determined to succeed will succeed no mater what obstacles come their way. They will FIGURE IT OUT! They will use their persistence to handle rejection. They will win!
Unfortunately there is no quick test you can give to determine if this winning spirit exists( although many companies do use aptitude test they feel helps make this determination). The point is to look for the characteristic in every interchange with the candidate. Do your best to be sure it is present. Ambition or drive is the key element that determines sales success.