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How to detect sales potential in a candidate

November 30, 2012

Sales people sometimes give their best sales performance during the interview! Yet this does not necessarily mean they will be effective in your particular operation.

There are many factors to consider that will affect the overall productivity of any sales person.  So, what do you look for?

1.  Best with Active or passive sales?

2.  Fits comfortably with the sales environment?

3.  Adequately deals with clients?

4.  Sales Capacity?

Actively Sells or Takes Orders?

The most important thing you need to know about a salesperson is, “Can they close a sale?” You could judge this by what the applicant says, but this is not always reliable; any salesperson will tell you that they can sell.  It is definitely not true that all salespeople can, in fact, close the sale, just by virtue of being in sales.

Some can only close the “easy” ones, and will cave in under the pressure of objections. And in the process of caving in, some will all too easily give extra discounts, or “freebies” to get the sale, which can only reduce your profits. Some can take an order, as long as the customer says, “I want this product/service.”

Outside sales types would get pretty bored having to be an “order-taker.”  Before you hire anyone into sales, make sure you know which type of sales person you require.

Fits with the Sales Environment

At one end of the scale we have the high volume “retail” salesperson, and at the other end of the scale we have the long-term complex sell that might take 12 months to close. No matter what type of selling your applicant has done in the past, it is often difficult to know if they will be able to handle your selling environment successfully.

To make sure that you get the right match here, first determine what your particular requirements are, and then use a screening system which will tell you exactly what your applicant is capable of in this area. Insist on one where the results are tailored to your needs.

How’s the Handling of Clients?

Your clients are one of your most precious assets. How your salespeople handle them is therefore of prime importance. For instance, do you know for sure that this new salesperson is not going to shy away from certain types of clients, or lose their cool and create a bad PR situation for your company?  These attributes are actually a combination of several of the applicant’s abilities: communication level, responsibility, and the degree of self-control.

You must be able to precisely pinpoint them in your applicant before you hire. For instance, Correct Estimation.  Some salespeople can deal with any type of client, adapting their approach to suit the specific situation. Others would give the same sales presentation to every client, regardless of what the prospect may need.  They cannot observe clearly what is going on around them, or tailor their approach to each client’s need. If you want a salesperson who can correctly estimate each client’s unique requirements, the U‑TEST can tell you that about each applicant — with certainty!

Production Capacity

You need an active and productive salesperson—not one who will be idle and ineffective. More importantly, you need one who will get going without being pushed; one who will get things done. Self-starters are not always obvious during the initial interview.  You need to know for sure if you have an applicant who has the right level of energy to initiate activity, and the right level of drive  to accomplish those things they set out to achieve.

Since the sales force you set up will be depended upon to get your product into the hands of the customer or break open new areas in terms of market development, it is vital you get just the right sort of person for your type of operations.  Take the time and effort to screen properly, test accurately and be sure.  Your bottom line will reflect your success at it.

Ask me for more information, we can detect the right people!


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