Recruiting is an art.
Do you want to strengthen your sales team, but you are not sure how to recruit a good sales representative?
While you are in a recruiting session, you need to make sure that the future candidate meets different requirements.
Here are 4 essential skills that a good sales representative should have, and some ideas on how to test them:
While you are in a recruiting, you need to make sure that the future candidate meets different requirements.
Whether over the phone or face-to-face, the candidate’s presentation must be impeccable, because he represents the company’s image. Here are a few questions that will help you evaluate his presentation:
Is he dressed properly (button-down shirt, suit, …)?
Is he able to introduce himself clearly when speaking? And in his CV?
Is he able to make a clean and clear PowerPoint presentation?
Is he on time for your appointment?
After the interview, does he send a thank you email?
Listening and adaptation skills
Though the caricature of a sales representative is someone who talks a lot and is good at it, the reality is that a good sales representative has great listening skills and is able to adapt his discourse to his prospects. The sales representative must not try to sell his product at all costs but listen to his prospects’ needs so he can offer them the best solution (even if that solution is not one of the company’s products!).
Here are a few ideas for testing the listening skills of your sales position candidates:
Does he ask the questions that should interest him?
During your interview, don’t provide much information so you can see if he asks these questions: What is the recruiting process, and when will you give him an answer? How many other candidates have you seen? What is the salary? …
During the recruiting interview, suggest a role play during which he must sell you something. Does he talk about the product by showing off its 205 features/advantages, or does he ask you questions? If he does the latter, he should be able to sell a product even if he is not familiar with it.
Proactiveness and perseverance at all times
A good sales representative is able to prospect new clients and follow up with them until he gets an answer. Selling a product, or selling oneself – in the end, it’s the same thing, isn’t it? Require the same proactiveness and perseverance when you are recruiting a sales representative:
For the first phone interview, don’t call him. So you can see if he takes the initiative and calls you.
Does he follow up with you by email or telephone after the email if you don’t give him an answer?
When you have made your choice, require a speedy response from the candidate to see if he is able to make a decision quickly, and to refuse other job leads he may be working on.
Don’t hesitate to be a hard negotiator (salary/benefits/etc…): if he is a good sales representative, he will be better than you at that game anyway. ;)
An understanding of the market and the players
Your sales candidate must have the ability to understand the market in which you operate:
Who are your competitors, and what are their strengths/weaknesses compared to you?
Who are your potential partners?
Who are the decision makers in the target company?
These comprehension skills may be acquired once the sale representative has joined the company, and you can be more indulgent on these points with a junior sales representative. But it is still useful to test his analytical ability, especially if the candidate is not yet familiar with the field, by asking him to make a short PowerPoint presentation during an interview.
I invite you to consult this article as well if you want a real sales representative recruitment method.