Sales: How to hire a killer

I bet you haven’t ever hired a sales person who seemed perfect at interview and didn’t work out. Someone who had all the right answers, was excited by your vision of the future and assured you they were a self-starter. Someone with a brilliant track record, who came highly recommended and yet …..when they started, seemed “off the boil”. Someone who didn’t deliver in the first month, and despite your hope that they would get “up to speed” has been a mediocre performer or has already left you. Mishires are bad for the person you employed and are expensive mistakes for you in time, money and morale.

There’s a joke amongst recruiters that the best sales meeting many salespeople have is the one that gets them their next job. So how do you tell the difference between someone who will perform for you and someone who never could, or can’t right now?

The hiring company gets really excited and feels they’ve found a hunter. The sales person is hopeful and excited too. Maybe they also get a shiny new car, phone and all the gadgets.

The new hire asks all the right questions at induction and the managers feel they’ve hired right. The sales person starts with enthusiasm to prospect or go out to meetings.

But then tumbleweed.

Or some sales but way behind the management projections.

Or forecasts slip into the next reporting period.

Management say “Give it time. S/he’ll find her/his feet”. Two months. Three months. Eight months. How long?

Mishire?

Maybe they are a salesperson who can take complicated orders but doesn’t have that killer instinct needed to drive sales.

Maybe you have hired a sales rep who is naturally good at developing relationships with an existing client base and finding opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell. They just aren’t that driven to go in cold and win new business.

Maybe you hired someone better suited for long sales cycles that require patience, focus and structure. These people are careful not to let any details fall through the cracks. They can extend the timeframe to closing business so slow your numbers.

Good salespeople – but not a fit.

They just don’t have the traits they need to be successful with you.

To be successful, get clarity on what will make a sales person successful with you. Here are 6 criteria for hiring a hunter, someone who is keen and driven to make sales for you – look for someone who:

  1. has strong fire in their belly
  2. creates value and demand
  3. takes control of the sales process
  4. takes action without requiring direction
  5. takes responsibility for their results
  6. adjusts how they deal with people

You can train skills – but forcing someone with account management or long sales cycle mentality to hunt for business to close this month or quarter is an endless and thankless task for the sales manager. Read next week’s blog for more on how to identify those killer traits in your new hires.

Ermine Amies

Ermine Amies

Ermine Amies runs Sandler Training in East Anglia with monthly Master Classes in Norwich

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