In this episode we are going to talk about the challenges of recruiting salespeople.
Hi and welcome back. In this episode we are going to talk about recruiting for salespeople. Recruiting for sales people is very challenging. It is challenging in 3 ways, two of which are reasonably obvious but the third is not. So, let’s start with the easy stuff.
The first reason that recruiting for salespeople is challenging is that sales skills are very subjective. There is no certification for sales. It’s not degree specific as some disciplines are like engineering and accounting. Salespeople have a lot of different educational experiences and what they provide you as an employee is a very subjective skill- the ability to communicate. So judging salespeople in the interviewing process can be challenging because what you are judging is ambiguous. One person may like a certain personality and another person may not. And, one person may describe a certain personality in a specific way, like gregarious where another person may say that same personality is fast talking. One is positive, and one is negative.
So when you are interviewing salespeople the one thing you have to do with your team of interviewers is to have a common set of semantics, common words to describe things, and, you have to have a baseline. In other words, John Smith is one of your more successful salespeople. So you want to judge people’s skills and their subjective qualities based upon John Smith. This person is more talkative or less talkative than John Smith. More articulate. More polished or less polished. That’s the best way to describe the subjective nature of sales skills.
The second challenge with interviewing sales people is obvious. Salespeople are good communicators. They know the game. They know how to talk. They know how to present themselves. And they’re good at what they do. And, if they are good at what they do they will interview well. Any salesperson that does not interview well is probably not going to be a salesperson for very long to begin with. So, they will all present a positive persona within the interviewing process. To judge that against your average candidate for other professional jobs is sometimes misleading. You have to evaluate salespeople in terms of their presentation in an interview on a higher bar. Average is not good enough. They all have to be above average.
Now, lets’ get to the third challenge in interviewing salespeople – the one that’s less obvious. Salespeople are trained to close. They are trained to overcome objections. And, to them, the interviewing process is similar to the sales process, it is a series of objections that they are trained to overcome. The first objection is I want to get an interview. Ok, I am going to work hard to get the interview. I want to get the second interview and I am going to work hard to get the second interview. Third, I want to get the offer. I got to overcome that objection. My goal is to get the offer. They are trained to do that. That’s what makes them good at what they do. They are good at what they do and there is nothing wrong with that.
There is one thing lacking I that with many salespeople. They are so trained to overcome objections that sometimes they don’t think about whether they really want the job. Their goal is to get the offer because that means that they have overcome all of the objections. Once they get the offer they start thinking about whether they want the job or not. What does that mean to you, the potential employer?
It means you waste a lot of time. It means a lot of candidates back out at the end. It means a lot of candidates that you think are interested because they have gone through are really just going through the process because they are trained to be persistent, dogged and energetic and to do what? To overcome objections. That’s the win. Getting an offer is like getting a sale for them emotionally.
The only way to overcome this from a metrics standpoint is that you have to have a lot more candidates because you are going to lose some. In a traditional employment situation we usually try to find 2-3 finalists so that if one backs out our client has a backup candidate that they can turn to. In sales, you need like 4 or 5 finalists because I can guarantee you that 2 or 3 of them, at some point towards the end of the process will realize that this is not the job for them and will back out at the last minute. Sales projects are very labor intensive. For most of our general professional employee searches, we talk to 100 people to get down to the 2 or 3 finalists for our client. For sales searches we talk to 200 or 300 which means that you can expect to put a lot of time into your sales projects and there is literally no way to short cut it.
So there are some quick tips for you if you are interviewing sales people. If you want to know more or think we can help, you can contact us at Right Recruiting in Blue Bell, PA
Music by Ema Grace | “Check Them In” http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ema_Grace/~/Check_Them_In
Creative Commons Attribution License — Changed only to shorten for need.