How to Hire Great Sales People


Great sales people are key to your business success. Yet despite the tough economic climate, great sales people can be hard to find. In many cases, the interview process is not sufficient to determine sales success.

Sometimes we select the wrong candidates, who seem to tick the boxes but simply do not perform. On the other extreme, we sometimes eliminate candidates who seemed unsuitable but may actually have performed.

So what do we need to look for when hiring? What are the clues to cracking the sales code?

In addition to your regular interviewing techniques, here are some additional options to consider when hiring sales staff:

  1. Ask to see their diary. If they did not bring one, be concerned. If they did bring one, take a quick glance inside. A busy diary is a good sign – empty diary is a red flag.
  2. Ask them to role-play calling you and setting up an appointment over the phone. Act like a vague, indecisive or hostile customer and see how they handle it.
  3. Ask them how they would prepare before going out to a first appointment. What process would they follow? A good sales person will Google the prospect, do some research on their company, prepare some intelligent opening questions and print out a customer record sheet to take along.
  4. Have them role play an appointment, with you as the customer. Note their communication skills. Do they ask intelligent questions? Do they make written notes whilst interviewing you? Do they seem to be good listeners?
  5. Enquire about their closing skills. Can they name and demonstrate at least 3 different closing techniques?
  6. Ask them about their personal goals and ambitions. Are they clearly defined and easy to explain? Are they written down somewhere? Any good sales person needs to be able to clearly map out and define the actions they need to take in order to reach their personal and business targets.
  7. Having a glowing reference from a previous employer or manager is one thing, but a finding salesman who’s customers sing their praises is definitely a step in the right direction. Ask for recent contactable customer references and call a couple of them.
  8. Enquire as to how much sales training they have had. How many books on sales they have read. How many sales blogs do they subscribe to?

I find that the best sales people to work with are hungry for knowledge. They have an open mind. They are keen to learn. They are naturally curious and inquisitive and they have the right attitude.

How good is your Sales Team?

Looking at the points above how does your Sales Team measure up? Do they know how to plan a productive and profitable call schedule? Do they know how to qualify leads? Are they closing sufficient deals?

Are YOU confident that they can close the deal?

If you’ve answered NO to any of these questions, or if you’re not sure, then I can help you.

In order to make Sales Training more accessible for businesses with smaller sales teams, I am hosting two public 2-day sales Training Courses in March. The first one takes place in Johannesburg on 03 and 04 March and the second in Cape Town on 05 and 06 March 2015.

Why a 2-day Sales Course?

There are no quick fixes in sales. Two days gives us sufficient time to properly cover the 8 essential modules for immediately improving sales performance. The course is practical, interactive and participative. We transfer the skills by continuous practice and role-playing. Most importantly, at the end of day two I help each delegate set up their own personal action plan and written goals for the next 3 months.

What does it cost and what’s included?

The investment for this 2-day course is R4950 (ex VAT) per person. Enrol 3 or more delegates to qualify for a 10% discount.

Each delegate will receive a comprehensive workbook as well as a certificate of completion. They will also get to attend a 60 minute live follow-up webinar with me 3 weeks after completing the course. Teas and lunches for both days are also included.

For more information or to sign up
follow this link to the
Johannesburg Public Sales Course
or this one to the
Cape Town Public Sales Course.

We look forward to hearing from you

Yours in Sales Success

Mark Berger