Finding your new salesperson yourself? It sounds attractive, but it’s also risky, because if you get it wrong there can be major consequences. Depending on the maturity and size of your company, it can put pressure on your entire organisation.
In our previous article, we saw that there are plenty of pitfalls if recruiting salespeople isn’t your daily work. So the question is: what exactly do you need to search and find the ideal salesperson and bind them to you?
1. Empathy and understanding people
Most salespeople possess social and communication skills. They make contact easily and they’re good talkers.
This means a recruiter has to be on their guard. You can only find out if your candidate is acting authentically or putting on a show if you have social and communication skills yourself and plenty of empathy and understanding of people.
Always treat your candidate with respect, but don’t be afraid to challenge them in a correct way. Get several colleagues to speak to your candidate and check carefully that the entire narrative remains consistent, even if your candidate has been sitting at the table for a while and you’re still fresh.
2. Maturity and a critical mind
Applying for a job is no walk in the park, and neither is interviewing an applicant. It can be challenging, in fact it has to be, especially for sales positions. A salesperson is the public face of your organisation and they also have a lot of impact within your organisation. Good salespeople create positivity and peace of mind, poor ones just sow frustration and chaos.
You must, therefore, dig out the truth with critical questions. Don’t hesitate to jump from one subject to another and ask the same questions several times. This allows you to assess the consistency of answers and your candidate’s reaction to unpredictable customer behaviour. In addition, allow some moments of silence, so you can check if a candidate needs to fill silences.
Candidates who are consistent in what they say and generate a positive feeling among all colleagues can move on to the next round. Other candidates should get alarm bells ringing.
3. Know what you can expect
You can only assess a salesperson’s knowledge, skills and ‘attitude’ if you know ‘how sales works’. Everyone has their own personality, but not everyone is equally suited to the profession. On the other hand, good salespeople don’t always have the same characteristics, but a certain basic attitude has to be right.
Resilience is one of the most important characteristics of a good salesperson. Your next salesperson must, on a daily basis, be able to process critical questions and rejections, put things into perspective, keep motivating themselves, find balance and radiate positivity.
Other requirements are being able to organise themselves, develop and follow a strategy, report, optimise and call for help where necessary.
Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone with experience in the industry, but not in sales. Hire for attitude. Sector-specific knowledge and skills can always be learned.
4. Experience as a salesperson
Have you worked in sales yourself? Then you’ll know what makes salespeople tick, what you can expect from your salesperson (and vice versa). Have you never worked in sales yourself? Then get help from a sales expert. Just because you’re good at what you do, doesn’t mean you know how to sell your products or services.
Make sure you can keep asking questions about the strategies and techniques your candidate used in the past. In addition, ask about their targets and whether these targets were achieved.
Equally important: ask why certain targets weren’t achieved. This is vital information. Your candidate may have been put in the wrong place or received insufficient support and coaching, targets may have been unrealistic or poorly defined or the organisation may have been unable to handle the new leads.
On the other hand, the cause may have been your candidate. Candidates who speak honestly about poor results demonstrate a high level of consciousness and learning ability. That shouldn’t be underestimated!
5. Lessons learned
Were you responsible for your own sales in the past? Then make an inventory of what worked, what didn’t, why something worked or didn’t work and what you’re looking for exactly. This will make it easier to find out if your new salesperson can fill in the gaps.
You must form a complementary team, and to find a complementary partner you need to know what you’re missing yourself.
6. Are you ready?
You can only find and bind the right salesperson if you have clear goals, if you’re aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation and if your organisation is ready to commit in full to sales.
In other words, make sure your organisation is ready to receive new customers and to keep existing customers happy. In addition, make sure you allow a sufficiently long onboarding period for your salesperson.
The commitment to sales therefore starts day one, but the results will take more time. This means you have to provide your salesperson with sufficient resources and support, so they can achieve the first successes as quickly as possible.
If results don’t start coming in, look at the attitude within the organisation and make sure that your salesperson feels supported. If results still fail to appear, check what’s going wrong, make adjustments or go your separate ways. In any case, make sure your organisation doesn’t suffer.
7. Prepare your salary package
Good salespeople are in high demand. They’re not easy to find and if they do pass your screening, you’ll want to bind them to you as soon as possible. So make sure that you already have a good idea of the salary package you can offer your candidate before your first interview.
The application procedure must be thorough and comprehensive, preferably involving various interviewers and different interviews and tests. However, the procedure shouldn’t be too long. If you can immediately clarify the financial part, you’ll come across as confident and decisive. That is exactly what you expect from good salespeople and they should be able to expect the same from you.
8. A warm network
Sales recruitment is a verb, not something you ‘just do’. Ideally, you work on building a network of interesting sales professionals every day and you also maintain constant contact, so you know who’s on the look-out for a new job. If you really keep in touch, you’ll also know what these professionals are looking for. This information is crucial in finding an ideal match.
So don’t put off finding your next salesperson for another day. Start right now on compiling the best team for the future and work continuously on building a warm network of sales professionals that can easily be approached when the time is right.
Do you recognise yourself in this blog post and are you ready to find and bind your next salesperson? Great!
Have you got any doubts or questions? No problem! Feel free to contact us. We’ll happily answer your questions and give you assistance where you need it.