Hiring the Right Sales Person

Hiring the right person for your organization is tough. It’s time consuming and, if you don’t do it right, it can be very expensive. Hiring the right sales person is even tougher, because sales people are very good at selling themselves. In this month’s SkillBites Show, our guest, Chuck Polin, shared a number of tips to help us hire the best sales person for our organization. Chuck is the CEO of The Training Resource Group and Co-Author of Nobody Ever Told Me I’d Have to Sell. Chuck has more than 40 years of sales, sales management, and corporate executive experience.

  1. Start with a specific job description, including what your expectations are, and what the position entails.
  2. Determine what compensation you will pay the position. This should revolve around performance, with a low base and high commission. An average range is $40,000 – $65,000 base and 5% – 20% commission. Some firms have different levels of commission depending on whether a sale comes from an existing client or a new client. You can find out what others in your industry are paying, and determine what someone working for your company would likely earn to help you set a fair rate.
  3. Look for skills rather than subject matter expertise. Someone who has good sales skills can pick up the knowledge of the industry; but someone knowledgeable about the industry may not be able to learn good sales skills. What skills should you look for?
    1. Ambition, drive and work ethic;
    2. A positive outlook; not being afraid of rejection;
    3. Being proactive; able to plan their day;
    4. Good interpersonal skills; and
    5. A large network.
  4. Conduct a screening call, and ask about the following:
    1. Why did they leave their prior positions?
    2. What does their average day look like?
    3. What does their sales system look like?
    4. What is their plan for the next 3 years?
    5. What level of base salary are they looking for, and what level of commission?
  5. Check references.
  6. Use an assessment tool designed for sales, such as The Devine Inventory, Caliper or Objective Management.
  7. Once you hire someone, establish the expectations for 30 days and the first 90 days. If they remain past 90 days, set quarterly expectations going forward. These expectations could include:
    1. How many calls they make (a good sales person can make 100 – 150 calls/day)
    2. How many appointments they make;
    3. How many No’s they get;
    4. Their closing ratio;
    5. How much they have learned about the industry;
    6. What time they come in and leave;
    7. What they do during the day.
  8. Go on sales calls with them to observe how well they handle themselves and how well they represent your company. Are they listening to the prospect? Are they problem-solving? Are they building a relationship?
  9. If someone isn’t performing well, cut the chord.
    Chuck offered to arrange for a free 2 hour workshop anywhere in the country with his parent organization, Sandler Sales Training. Contact Chuck through his website, www.trainingresourcegroup.com (which has a lot of helpful videos and other information) or call him at 215-320-4650.
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