Micro Management

Hiring Super Sales People and Sales Managers

Sam Manfer asked:

Hiring successful sales people and sales managers requires a scientific process, not a resume and interview ritual.  You’ve probably been fooled many times from a great impression at the interview, and then the person didn’t cut it.  S/he either quit, got fired or worse yet, s/he is still with you under producing.  Well these mistakes can be avoided, along with all the lost customers and associated expenses for training, salary, etc., by using my recruiting process.


The Science of Sales Person Selection


There are certain elements present and/or absent and/or mixed in proportions that determine selling and sales management success.  (See the White Paper described at the end of this article).  So in order to hire super sales people companies must:  Measure the amounts of each element; determine what mixes and what doesn’t; decide what can be changed or improved in the time allotted to change it; analyze findings; Interview candidates that tested positive and make your selection. 


This science is 96% accurate for selecting successful sales people for any industry.  That’s better than 9 super sales people for every 10 you choose.  Selling success means the person is an over-achiever and/or a top producer on your selling team.    Think of all the sales people you’ve hired and determine how many of them stayed with you and turned out to be top producers.


Selling Success Is Not a Personality Score


These elements are not to be confused with personality traits that are described and measured using a variety of personality tests – Meyers Briggs, DISC, etc.  These tests (although valuable for certain things) describe behavioral traits, but do not indicate (1) if a person can sell, (2) if a person wants to sell, (3) if a person has the skills to sell, and (4) if a person can sell for your company.  Now if you’re a CEO or sales manager in-need of someone to fill a selling void or generate needed sales, you’d like to know your selection has 1, 2, 3 and 4 and can hit the road running.


The Selling Success Elements


There are 4 critical strengths required for selling success – desire, commitment, outlook and accountability.  Commitment and desire are mandatory.  Outlook can be changed and accountability is manageable.


There are 5 weaknesses that everyone has.  The amounts and combination of these weaknesses will determine the overall effectiveness of the person.  That is; if someone is really flush with desire, commitment, outlook and accountability, but is encumbered with some or all of the weaknesses, his or her selling effectiveness will diminish proportionally.  The weaknesses relate to money sensitivity, need for approval, self image, personal buying traits, and emotional involvement.


Next are selling skills and a selling process that are more comprehensive than showing-up, presenting and expecting a purchase.  These include, getting to the right people, effective interviewing, fitting solutions to defined problems better than alternatives, securing commitment, managing accounts, prospecting, networking, territory development, and so on.


All of these strengths, weaknesses and skills can be measured either (1) in an interview by someone savvy questioning and listening for the elements – not many people are competent at doing this, or (2) from a test that gathers information, compiles it, gauges it and validates it regarding these strengths, weaknesses and skills.


Selling for Your Company


Obviously the person has to be able to sell, but whether or not someone can sell for your company will center on elements defining your type of sale – simple vs. complex; big ticket vs. small; titles the person has to connect to; highly competitive vs. specialty, etc.


Finally your type of management must be compared to the style that the person works best with – micro vs. macro management; coaching vs. left alone to survive; tolerant vs. nothing but results.  There are more, and all need to be compared – candidate to company.


What to Do to Assure Success


Although measuring the elements sounds like a lot of work, the task can be relatively simple.  Devise a test that measures these elements or use proven, existing ones.  Now if you get caught up in the cost of testing, just ask yourself what a failed sales person costs?  And if you get caught-up in the predictability, look to the longevity and satisfied users.


Unfortunately, measuring the elements is not all that’s required.  You will need to have a recruiting step.  That is, writing an ad that draws the right type of person and searching the various companies, websites, and other venues where your right person will be hanging around. 


This leads us to determining what the right person should look like.  What experiences, salary levels, and successes s/he should have.  Finally, your interviewing process must be set-up to see if chemistries match and to explore red flags indicated by the elements test.


This is the recruiting process and now I invite you to learn more about it.

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