Don’t skip a step

I’m often surprised about how inconsistent businesses are when it comes to hiring sales people. They may not have an organized procedure and many entrepreneurs rely on gut instinct.

In the first part of a two-column series, I’ll share the different steps involved in an effective hiring process:

” Identifying what an ideal candidate looks like for your organization.

” Searching for the candidate.

” Pre-qualifying the candidate.

” Assessing the candidate for your organization.

” In-person interviewing.

Identifying the candidate

Most organizations don’t take the necessary time or energy to do this step well. If I asked you to travel from Oklahoma City to Tennessee, what is the first thing that you would do? You would map out a plan to get there. It is highly unlikely that you would just jump in the car, take a highway that others mentioned is a “good highway,” and if it doesn’t work out after a while, switch to a different one. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what most of us do when it comes to qualifying candidates.

If someone says that they’re good, or if their resume says that they have experience – so what! You need to first identify the qualities that will make this candidate successful for your company, not just any organization.

Have they sold high-priced products like yours before? What level of decision maker do they need to be in front of to be successful at your company? How long is your company’s selling cycle and have they previously sold in that format?

There are several qualities that can be mapped out right away to identify a potential candidate or a no-deal.

Searching for the candidate

There are several different ways to search for the ideal candidate. A good place to start is by asking yourself this question: “If I found someone better then my best person tomorrow, would I find a place for them in my organization?”

If the answer is a resounding YES, then why are you only looking when you need someone? They make you money, not cost you, right? Then get searching!

Searching for a candidate is something that should go on for owners and managers every single day. If one of your salespeople mentioned that they have enough sales right now, but that they would try to fill an empty spot if they lost a client, how long would it take you to fire them? One nanosecond? Well that’s what you and your sales managers are doing when you’re not prospecting for the best candidates out there every day.

Whenever you meet with a colleague, friend or client, you should be asking them, “Who calls on you that impresses you so much that when they come into your office or call on the phone, you always make time for them? I want to meet that person.”

Next month, I’ll provide details on the final three steps: Pre-qualifying the candidate, assessing candidates and in person interviewing. ?

Greta Schulz is president Schulz Business and Contact her at or 561.745.8892.

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