How To Hire Great Salespeople

hiring salespeople, successful salespeople, Sales Maven, Nikki Rausch

Have you ever wondered how to hire great salespeople?

Maybe you're considering hiring someone part-time or even full time to help grow your business in the coming year.

At BizChix Live in October, the fabulous Shelli Warren ( talked about stacking a team. Shelli has an extensive corporate background, notably working for Proctor & Gamble for over 25 years. She's known for putting together strong teams that outperform expectations. In her talk, she shared that one of the first hires you should make in your business is a salesperson.

Shelli's right. Professional salespeople can make a tremendous difference to your bottom line. My goal this next year is to bring on a salesperson to focus on growing a particular segment of my business. How about you, at what point will you consider hiring for your business?

How To Hire Salespeople: Hiring

Be prepared when hiring so you don't end up with a dud. Many years ago, hiring salespeople was a key component of my job. At one point, I had 24 sales people reporting to me and most of them I made the hiring decision on. Believe me, I struck gold with some and in a few cases made some regrettable choices.

Bad hiring decisions not only impact the employer and clients, it also wreaks havoc on the person who was never a good fit for the job. If you've ever been fired from a job for lack of performance, you know it takes its toll on your confidence. As a decision maker in the hiring process, crushing someone's confidence is not something to take lightly.

Over the years, I've had the great pleasure of working with some outstanding salespeople. A few of them worked for me and some of them I worked alongside as colleagues and customers. These men and women all had 3 things in common. These same 3 areas are what I recommend people look for when hiring the right salesperson.

How To Hire Salespeople: 3 Critical Requirements:

Flexible in their approach. 

We’ve all heard the saying, “People buy from people, they know, like and trust.” Therefore, in order to be successful, the salesperson must be able to adjust their approach to match the client. Being able to earn the business of people who have a different style than them expands their potential client base.

When interviewing a salesperson, notice how flexible they are to adjusting to the style of the interviewer. If they can't put the interviewer at ease, chances are they won't be able to put your clients at ease either.

Able to move a client into action

Successful salespeople recognize where they are in the sales process with the client. They realize it's their job to move clients through the process and earn the business. They don't wait for the client to “let them know” the decision. Consistent action and follow up is key.

When interviewing a salesperson ask for specific examples of sales situations. How did they find the initial lead, what steps did they take to move the person from being a prospect to being a paying client? What obstacles came up along the way and how did they overcome them? Ask them how they'll prospect for leads and what types of clients they can bring to your business. You'll also want to know what tools/support they believe they'll need to be successful.

If the person your interviewing isn't able to answer these questions they're showing they lack follow through. They should have prepped before the interview and been prepared with answers. Also, they should ask you for the job at the end of the interview. If they don't, they may not know how to ask for the sale. You don't want someone on your team who leaves money on the table with prospects.

Motivated by money and/or recognition

The best salespeople are either motivated by money (commission) or by recognition. Sometimes it's a combination of both money and recognition. However, when a salesperson is more interested in “educating” people about the product/service they’re probably less likely to have the “closer” mentality. You don't need a professional salesperson who just wants to “help” people, You can hire a customer service person for a lot less money to do that.

In addition to being a relationship builder, they've got to have a hustle and drive to be successful. The best salespeople are competitive and want some form of acknowledgment for their efforts. They want to know where they are in relation to others in their industry or on the team (when you have multiple salespeople).

Don't shy away from hiring someone who's motivated by money and talks about it openly. If you're not in business to make money, you certainly shouldn't be hiring a salesperson.

How To Hire Salespeople: Bottom Line

When you find a salesperson that's flexible, understands the selling process and is motivated to succeed, you've got a potential superstar. Be sure they're a good fit in your culture and then let them loose. Top producing salespeople don't want to be micromanaged. They have the internal desire to succeed so give them the leeway needed to grow their sales.

Wishing you continued success.

Agree? Disagree? Have additional comments or thoughts on this article? Please share.

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