I think we have made it very clear that sales staffing is NOT easy to do. Sure, finding people to fill a role in today’s economy is not hard. But finding the right people can be downright exhausting. In the past, we have identified how to recruit great sales people as well as what to look for in a great sales person. Today, we’re going to delve into the most common mistakes people make when sales staffing.
1) Looking for experience over ability – some of our very best sales representatives were plucked right out of college with zero to very little sales experience. When sales staffing, we look for “Sales DNA” – competitive nature, track record of success, challenge-hungry and hard working are just a few attributes of the “sales DNA”. Don’t discard a person who could be your next #1 representative just because they haven’t been in sales before. Everyone must start somewhere!
2) Personal recommendations – we incentivize our employees to send us the resumes of their friends and peers. After all, our employees know what it is like to work with us. Be careful, however, because not all personal recommendations are good ones. Just because a candidate is the cousin of your best sales person does not mean they have the same (sales) “DNA”, put them through the interview process just like everyone else.
3) Poor preparation – it blows our minds how many people have no clue what they are doing when it comes to sales staffing. Don’t just “wing” the interview. Be prepared with scripted questions that will help identify the right person for the job. I always start every interview first by a description (and tour) of our company and our offices (culture = important) and then I ask if the candidate has any questions for me. If a candidate has no questions – that is a red flag. But you wouldn’t know that unless you adhere to a sales staffing process so be PREPARED.
4) Talking through the interview – I cannot tell you how many candidates have told me about interviews where they literally didn’t say a word because the recruiter/owner/hiring manager talked their ear off the whole time. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP! While it is important to give the candidate a clear picture of the company and job at hand, the most important part of the interview is to learn about the candidate!! Ask scripted questions and write down the answers! You will NOT remember every candidate you see – trust us. Let the candidate take control of the interview if they seem so inclined – this can be a good test on confidence and communication.
5) Hiring someone you “like” – while they do say the best way to gauge whether or not someone will be good at sales is to ask yourself “would I want to go have a beer with him/her?” hiring someone just because they share a penchant for your college basketball team is no reason to hire that person. Make sure their skills match up with the job at hand as well. Likability is definitely a huge factor in sales success, but it should not be the only one.
Sales staffing is a tricky business, but knowing what to avoid can help you find the right sales talent, every time!