How to recruit salespeople

SalesmanSales staff move around a lot, over half of sales staff are probably thinking about a move at any one time.

The reasons they move are to improve their salary and compensation, improve their career prospects, and perhaps to find a different company culture, one they are happier with.

Recruiting and training a new salesperson, as well as dealing with the downturn in sales caused by their absence, is an extremely expensive business. So, lets have a look at the process of recruiting, training and managing salespeople, so that you can operate all these processes in the most effective way.

SalesmanDon’t wait until you need a new member of staff to think about it – then you can only choose from the available pool at the time. Keep an ongoing file of potential candidates who approach you. Follow them up, even if you don’t have a vacancy, and find out about their track record, maybe even meet them. Then you have a shortlist that you can use to approach potential candidates at the time you need someone.

Offer a cash incentive to existing sales team members for successful sales staff referrals. The team will know of good salespeople who will fit well into your company.

Have available an accurate job description you can give to interested parties at any time.

If you offer a commission-only payment system, consider a guaranteed income for a probationary period, so that good salespeople are not deterred from accepting the position for fear of low income while they are learning the job.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests can be used for all staff, not just salespeople. They are often used in the selection process to determine how well candidates fit with the job and the company culture. They can also be used to improve team work, and employee engagement.

They do require a thorough understanding of what the job requires in terms of behaviours and competencies.

They work by asking the subject to answer a list of questions which measure factors such as behavioural style, and motivators, assertiveness, independence, attitude, judgement.

Behaviours are a mix of nature (inbuilt) and nurture (related to upbringing).

A person’s behaviour pattern will determine how they respond to problems and challenges, influence others, respond to rules and procedures, and to the pace of the workplace.

The tests may also measure factors such as leadership, teamwork, interests, thinking style.

Research suggest that people who understand their own strengths and weaknesses are most effective, because they develop a strategy to deal with their environment
The success of these aptitude tests depends heavily on a good analysis of which competencies and behaviours are critical to the role under review.

How to interview a salesperson

When interviewing them, open with a relaxed chat to see where it goes, rather than a structured Question and Answer session. A good sales person will be comfortable with this as part of their skill is being able to get on with anyone and everyone, and find common ground with them

I love this idea from Brian Moran, Founder/ Director of Online Sales, which I found when researching this article.

I test a salesperson in every way possible before I hire them: I miss our scheduled phone call to see what he does; I ask him to give a presentation and sell our product during our interview; I email him and use an incorrect name to see how he responds; I reject him to see how he responds to rejection. My goal is to find out if the salesperson is truly tenacious and willing to close the deal

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Worth trying a few of these ideas, I suggest.