How To Hire Top Performing Salespeople

These essential sales recruiting strategies will help you solve one of the biggest challenges leaders face in making their revenue numbers— hiring top performing salespeople.

The Biggest Challenge Leaders Face

Ask any manager, V.P. or business owner what one of the biggest challenges they face in making their revenue numbers and they’ll tell you it’s identifying, hiring and retaining good sales reps.

All you have to do is look at your own company or industry to know that 80% of the sales and revenue is made by the top 20% of salespeople.

So how do you identify who the top salespeople are BEFORE you spend all that time and money on hiring, training and then hoping they perform?

There are many ways to try to identify the characteristics in advance, and in fact there is a whole industry of profiling and assessment testing to help you make the right choice.

I have used some of these tests and have found them to be quite accurate and valuable.

I have also found an easier way to identify who the potential top producers are, and I’ve boiled it down into three key strategies.

If you are responsible for identifying and hiring sales reps in your company, then I recommend you use these techniques to help you find the right sales reps before you spend all that time and energy training, managing and hoping you’ve made the right choice…

Learn About Their Previous Performance

First, it is a well known fact in psychology that the best predictor of future behavior and performance is past behavior and performance.

You can use this information in a couple of ways to predict how a new sales rep is likely to perform for you:

  1. You can conduct a background check to verify the candidate’s employment history and check their sales performance in their previous roles. This can include contacting their previous employers and verifying their sales numbers.
  2. Look in their resume or job application for any specific achievements or awards the candidate has received in their previous sales roles, as well as any specific metrics or sales goals they may have met or exceeded.

This will give you the best indication of what they were capable of in their last role, and what they can be capable of as a seller on your team.

What Motivates Them?

Second, determine what is really motivating your candidate. What we were exposing in the first real secret was your candidate’s comfort zone.

We all have comfort zones, and sales reps in particular will always live up to – and most likely down to – their comfort zone, especially in terms of income and opportunity.

So if your candidate is really looking to your company and this new role to better themselves and earn more money, find out what is driving this need and desire for more money. Have their life circumstances changed?

For example, have they recently gotten married, had a child, purchased a home? If so, then they may have a real motivation to work harder, make more money and enlarge their comfort zone.

If their situation hasn’t changed, then you can be pretty sure that they will not be motivated to work harder, learn more skills, and make more sales.

In essence, they will continue to live down to their current comfort level and you may once again be hiring another 80% producer.

Assess Their Skills

Last, assess their sales skills and previous training. This is one of my favorites. During the interview, I ask my candidates how they think they would do selling my product. They all say, “I’d do great!” I then do two things:

  1. I ask them to sell me on the product. What I’m looking for is for them to ask me qualifying questions rather than just start pitching.  Those who just dive right in and start pitching reveal themselves as middle to low 80% producers.  Top 20% producers, on the other hand, start asking me questions and gathering information.  They are the ones I’m interested in.
  2. Next I give them a couple of objections and watch and listen to how they handle them.  You can immediately tell how much training someone has had, and how successful they were, by listening to them handle age old objections like “The price is too high,” and “I’ll have to talk to…”

These techniques have saved me hundreds of hours of poor hires, and they have often revealed who the real top producers were.

For sales leaders, nothing is more important than attracting, recruiting, and retaining top sales talent. In this course, you’ll learn from an elite sales recruiting expert as she gives you practical techniques for developing and executing a winning strategy to attract A-Grade sales talent onto your team. You can take the Sales Gravy University micro-course here.

About the author

Mike Brooks

Mike Brooks is the founder of Mr. Inside Sales, a North Carolina based inside…

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