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How to Hire Great Salespeople


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Hiring good people is one of the toughest challenges for most organisations. Hiring effective sales people is particularly difficult.

Working in many organisations both large and small in sales, business development and marketing, you see good and bad salespeople.

I have been in sales and marketing since 1992 but I only understood how to hire successful salespeople after many years of being in sales and trying to get sales jobs myself.

Most people have the impression of sales people being wide-boys or the people in flashy cars who seem to swan around having a nice time and getting paid too much. 

But good salespeople come in all shapes and sizes and you need different types of salespeople for different types of products, sectors and regions. So, you need to look for certain common traits to know whether they are going to be any good or not.

Here are my recommendations for hiring great salespeople:

1. Motivation – Finding out whether a candidate for your sales role either wants the money or needs the money is the cornerstone of your hiring process. If they want the money they can earn from the role then put that down as 4 out of 10 mark for them. If they need the money then give them 10 out of 10. Without the need for the money, they won’t be hungry enough.  How do you find out if they need the money? Ask them about their circumstances. If they live at home with their parents, then get worried. If they have responsibilities, then get interested.

2. Belief – How much do they know about what you do, what you sell, your customers, your market? It does not matter that they may be new to sales, straight out of college or working in a different industry. They need to demonstrate sincere belief in what you sell, make or market is the best and that it helps customers. For example, if you are asking them to sell insurance then they need to believe that insurance is a must-have product. Do they have insurance and why?

3. Determination – It’s a tough job getting rejected all day trying to find new customers. Not for the faint-hearted. So, you need to see what they are made of. Ask them about adversity in their lives and how they overcame it. You need to see that people will get up and fight to win the business. Ask them for several situations in their lives which demonstrate grit and ask them for details.

These are the foundation for being successful in sales. Of course, being well presented and a good listener are important. But, there are plenty of good communicators out there and not many great salespeople. Be wary of cockiness and a propensity to be quick with excuses. Great salespeople take responsibility for their mistakes and they learn quickly to be better.

Be open to different types of people who want to get into sales because it takes all types to be a great salesperson.

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Categories: business, marketing
  1. 18/11/2010 at 9:02 am

    i like sales jobs because i can earn a decent amount of dollars for jut a few hours of work ;~`

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