How to Hire Successful Sales Reps

Many business owners and sales managers ask me if I have a proven system or a way to identify and hire top sales reps. They have tried everything, they tell me.  They check references, review similar work experiences, talk to ex co-workers, hold multiple job interviews, and sometimes they even spring for some high priced fancy sales aptitude matrix tests.

Even with all that however, many sales managers still haven’t found a way to identify who will actually perform well and work hard versus who will merely show up, take up space and drive up costs by sending out brochures, running up phone bills, squandering leads etc.  “How can you tell?”  They ask me.

Well I’ve got good news for you.  There is one technique that I’ve used successfully for years that will immediately separate who is for real and who’s not.  It doesn’t require any special tests, it can be done on the first interview, and it will always tell you what kind of sales rep you’ve got in front of you.

Here’s what you do:

During the course of the interview simply describe the service or product you’re selling, and ask them if they think they would do well selling it.  Almost all that will say, “Oh, of course!”  (Those who don’t dismiss immediately!)

After that, tell them you want to get an idea of how they would handle some of the common objections you get for this sale, and then give them three or four objections (one at a time, of course) and let them respond to them.  That’s it!

Several things happen here — all of which accurately reveal what kind of sales rep you’re dealing with.  They usually fallen into three categories:

The “A” Players — The top reps or sales reps who are well-trained and confident, will handle each objection with a recognizable rebuttal, and the really good ones will even ask for the sale at the end.  You will instantly know who they are.  You hire these reps right away.

The “B” Players — This group of sales reps will also answer the objections, but their responses will be less polished.  With this group the lack of any formal training will show through, and you will be faced with the decision of whom you think can or can’t be trained.  Part of this group will be uncomfortable with the objections and you will be able to tell that they probably never will be comfortable with them.  Your choice of who to hire from this group should be pretty clear.

The “C: Players — A common response from this group will be something like this:  “Well, I really don’t know your product so I really wouldn’t be able to answer these objections.”  What they’re really saying, of course, is that they have no idea how to respond to an objection, they have no confidence, and the reason they are here looking for a job will be glaringly clear to both of you.  You pass on this group altogether.

Try this powerful technique during your next interview.  You will be amazed by how well it works.  Simply give them an objection, then sit back, listen and observe.

You will know instantly if you’re dealing with a real closer or someone who is just going to fill a chair.  Happy hiring!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.