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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Do You Have a Clue About Hiring Sales Talent?

hiring sales talent how to know exactly what you are looking forI often find myself walking into a different room of the house and then pausing and wondering, “Why am I here? I know I came in here for something…” Sometimes I find a clue like an empty paper towel roll in my hand and I think, “Right – that’s the reason.” Other times I remain confused. I am often an over caffeinated, busy, working full time mom chasing around two boys and a puppy. 

Some scientists believe crossing through the doorway triggers this… they even have a name for it – “location-updating effect,” which suggests there may be a decline in memory when you move from one location to another and walking into the next room is sometimes all it takes.

So if walking from room to room can cause a memory decline – how can you stay focused when you are switching back and forth from coaching existing sellers to recruiting new talented candidates to join your team?  

You need clues. It is so much easier to find the right candidate when you know exactly what you are looking for.

Here is what I believe are five “must haves” or five “clues” to look for when looking for a talented sales candidate:

1. Work Ethic and Organization. How someone presents themselves through the interview process will tell you a lot about their work ethic and organizational skills. Are they late to the interview or 15 minutes early? Did they bring a pen and a copy of their resume? When you ask about how hard they like to work, you want to hear: I work hard. Beware of “I work smart not hard” or “as hard as the opportunity allows. Those are just fancy ways to say “No, I don’t work that hard.”

2. Ability to close!! Let’s be real – this is a sales opportunity. You WANT someone who will ask the difficult questions and go for the close. You want them to tell you why you should pick them and you want them to tell you when you should decide by.  If they are not selling you on hiring them and if they are leaving everything in your court saying things like, “Just let me know whenever you want about what you think…” that is not a good sign. If you are going to see evidence of this talent NOW is the time

3. Optimistic “can do” attitude. “Man I LOVE being around negative people” said no one ever. Think about your environment and what type of team atmosphere you are creating.  Are you bringing in a cheerleader that will see the bright side of changes and see opportunities or a Debbie Downer that is going to be a cancer to the group? Ask how they feel about change.  Notice if they are smiling during the interview. Pay attention to their answers and if they focus on ways they worked around obstacles or ways they were “shut down” by obstacles. 

4. Relationships skills. A lot of people will tell you that they are a “people person” or “really good with people.” Hold out for more.  How do they describe their customer relationships to you? Did they try to build a connection with you during the course of the interview process that was meaningful? Do they demonstrate empathy and the ability to read a situation?  I recommend having each candidate meet with a few different people with varying personalities within the organization to see how they adapt. 

5. Motivation and drive What really drives this individual? Ideally, in sales you want someone who owns the fact that they will be paid commission. Someone who has confidence in their ability to perform.  Look for some “fire in the belly” that will push them consistently to new heights. That desire to do more and to close more. Look for evidence of competition. Do they like to keep score and measure their progress? Can they cite you their numbers? Do their examples convince you?  

What are your “must haves?” Do you have it mapped out? A detailed list of the “must haves” for a role will provide you with the clear vision you need to hire the rightt sales talent. With these requirements and “clues” mapped out, you are able to focus in on exactly what you are looking for.

Now, as to why you just walked from the living room to the kitchen and are staring at the junk drawer… check your hands and look for clues. Perhaps the remote you are holding needs a new battery.  

Use this download to help you hire based on the "must have" skills for your talent acquisition work!

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Topics: Talent Sales