Ten Tips: Hiring Salespeople   Leave a comment

Sales Rep 031. You can’t train enthusiasm. I’ve always liked hiring cheerleaders … but I’m not sure I’ve ever hired an actual cheerleader. What I have hired are self-avowed “people persons” that have a smile in their heart and a kind word on their lips. “Up” people make better sellers. Hire them.

2. Experience doesn’t mean better. Give me less experience with fewer expectations and fewer bad habits … your life will be simpler. Make no mistake, top sellers are almost always experienced reps with direct experience. However, you can’t hire “only” super star sellers. You need to develop reps, and helping them learn selling skills is often easier than breaking bad habits in reps that believe they know everything they need to know.

3. Education is good. I believe in hiring people with education. Reps should be able to write a proper proposal, and figure out how much they will be paid on each sale. They don’t necessarily need a college education (I had one fabulous rep that didn’t have a high school diploma, but she could sell!).

4. Be realistic with expectations. A new rep probably won’t be your top seller in 3 months. A rep with a developmental account list may not fully realize their potential for 2 years. Tell them the truth … or they’ll quit when they figure out they’ve been lied to.

5. In the interview, ask the applicant to talk about money. Have them tell you what they expect to make. Talk about asking for the order. If they can’t talk about money, straight up, in the interview, then they are not a sales person. You can’t teach this, in my experience, any more than you can teach enthusiasm.

6. Read the resume. If there is a grammatical or spelling error on the resume, you can’t trust what the applicant writes. How accurate do you think their proposals and contracts will be?

7. Experienced reps need to fit into your system. If you are fortunate enough to get an experienced applicant, then spend less time looking for sales skill and more time making sure they’ll fit into your system. Do you require reports? Do you have regular sales meetings? What record keeping system will they have to use? If it’s important, then make sure they are on board. If they insist they sell their way … then make sure you are OK with that. It’s not necessarily wrong … but if they are not flexible, then they must expect you to be flexible. At that point, it’s your call.

8. Check social media skills. They’ll interact with your clients via email, social media, face-to-face … written word? Over meals? Whatever your expectation, make sure they are good ambassadors for your brand in all situations. If they refuse to get on an airplane, for example, then you may not be able to send them to national conventions.

9. Industry experience is a huge plus. Hiring a person that has worked in the industry, or in a related industry, is a huge plus. It is not required, in my experience, but it does shorten the learning curves. Note that I’m not talking about direct selling experience … a motivated person with marketing experience in your industry can be an excellent seller, once they decide that’s what they want to do.

10. You need a variety of reps. If you only hire people just like yourself, then you’ll only have one kind of client. You need people with diverse interests, diverse backgrounds, and diverse styles. People sell differently, and clients need different kinds of information from their sellers. Make sure your sellers present a wide spectrum of possibilities to your marketplace, and you’ll maximize your brand’s potential.Sales Rep 04

Posted August 6, 2013 by henrymowry in Selling

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