Don’t Make ‘Howdy’ Calls

I see the same mistakes every day when companies hire salespeople. If you aren’t guilty of all of them, I bet you are guilty of at least a few. Salespeople are programmed to charm you. This isn’t meant in a negative way, it is just part of their DNA—it’s what attracts them to the field.

How do you get past the charm and see if they can actually do the job? Here are five important tips:

1. Stop hiring from a résumé. Just because someone has sold something doesn’t mean they can. Look for characteristics of success—an athlete, a military veteran. These people don’t know excuses such as, “Well, I tried to make my goals, but I just couldn’t.”

2. Don’t sell them the job. Create an atmosphere like the one they will run into in the real world. The interview needs be tough. For example: “So, you are about the 20th résumé we looked at. What makes you better than the rest? Why should we hire you over someone who has more experience?” Create a situation of pressure, because that is what they will be under in the field. See if they squirm from the pressure, or it fires them up.

3. Hire someone who’s working. Once you go to websites like Monster or Indeed, for example, you are looking at candidates out of work or looking for work. Good salespeople are not looking for work. You need to steal them from another company. Most, if they are looking, will find another job quickly through their own network. They don’t need to interview.

4. Be looking all of the time, not just when you “need” someone. Remember, a good salesperson is an asset, not a liability.  You always need more assets, right?

5. Use an assessment. Stop assuming you can make the right decision without nonsubjective information. Yes, personality is a part of the decision, for sure, but without a tool that is factual, you might make a decision purely on emotion. Don’t. Here is one to try: saleshiringmetrics.com.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is the best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to [email protected]

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