Hiring superstar sales talent is a lot easier than your managers will tell you. Their problem: they think hiring salespeople is the same as hiring for other positions. Wrong. Sales selection requires a completely different process.
Here are the ten most common sales force-hiring mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not making recruiting and retaining great sales talent your #1 business priority. Solution: Make this a significant goal for all your managers, and tie a good chunk of their performance bonus to the goal.
Mistake #2: Lacking a system for recruiting top talent from outside your industry. Solution: Create a hiring process for identifying top talent from industries with similar sales environments, and include an on-boarding program to cut ramp time. Example: Sellers who’ve sold conceptual financial services by calling on CEOs and presidents can ramp up to sell other conceptual services, like advertising or consulting.
Mistake #3: Hiring salespeople who can sell instead of those who will sell. The ONLY criterion for selecting superior sales talent is: Will they sell? Not “can they sell?” Sales teams are full of imposters who know how to sell, but won’t.
Mistake #4: Not knowing how to IDENTIFY superstar sales candidates. How do you? Pick the best sales people in your industry, or your company and perform a benchmark evaluation of the behaviors, attitudes, skills and environmental fit to make them champions.
Mistake#5: Hiring managers conduct traditional interviews, and fail to ask the right questions to unmask the “real” candidate. Solution: Conduct audition interviews, which simulate the tough environment to which a real prospect would subject them.
Mistake #6: Hiring to availability instead of to excellence. Solution: Hold your hiring managers accountable to hiring only “A” players.
Mistake #7: Hiring people based on “impressions” instead of hiring those they know will sell. Solution: Change your hiring criteria.
Mistake #8: Failing to learn the five hidden weaknesses that neutralize selling skills. Solution: Learn all five and how to spot them.
- Need for Approval: An emotional need to be liked (common in 85 % of sales people in the United States.)
- Emotional Involvement: They lose objectivity and forget what to do in the heat of battle.
- Money Weaknesses: Are uncomfortable talking about money, or have a low money tolerance.
- Buy Cycle: They are indecisive when buying, or shop around on price. As a result, they’re vulnerable to prospects that want to do the same.
- Self-Limiting Beliefs: If you cannot believe it, you cannot achieve it. These missing beliefs about themselves and selling predetermine their outcomes.
Mistake #9: Failing to measure and reward your employees for referring great candidate employees. Solution: Make it a priority. Set goals for candidate referrals. Pay handsomely, half on hire, half six months later.
Mistake #10: Advertising for positions, instead of for people. The magic is to write ads to describe your superstar. How? Write ads that cause superstars to remark upon reading: “That’s me.”