How To Hire A Sales Powerhouse In Only 20 Minutes - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

How To Hire A Sales Powerhouse In Only 20 Minutes

The secret to hiring a sales powerhouse is to radically reengineer your hiring process--and conclude it with a powerful, twenty-minute interview.  Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Define The Ideal Candidate:  Describe your ideal salesperson.  For example: "Our ideal candidate has successfully cold called CEOs, presidents, and owners of medium sized companies.  S/he can close sales for non-essential conceptual services that help a prospect's business.  Our ideal candidate can find budgets where there are none, and can close a $50,000 long-term contract in two calls or less.  The candidate must have had prior earnings of at least $80,000 per year."   

The key is to be very specific. Not about what you sell (that's secondary), but about the environment you sell in.

Step 2: Search. When recruiting, look outside your industry.   That way, you won't get stuck with industry retreads possessing below-average selling skills.  If one is leaving an organization, there's usually a reason. Find out what it is.  In addition, someone from the outside will ask fresh questions and show new insight ("Why can't we do that?") while someone from inside your industry has a pre-conceived notion ("We can't do that.").

When it comes to writing the copy for your help-wanted ad, make sure it's compelling.  Describe the ideal candidate in such a way as when that person reads your ad, they say "That's me!"  Your ad should also differentiate your organization from every other, so the candidate understands why it's unique.   

Step 3: Qualify In a five-minute telephone screen, read your pre-determined key criteria and ask the candidate to prove he or she can meet them.

Step 4: Conduct The Interview.   Do not tell the candidate all about your company and why they'd enjoy working for it.  Make them sell to you why you should hire them.

To separate the "real candidate" from his or her other "interview face", you have to run the interview in a way that's dramatically different from how most employment interviews proceed.  In those twenty minutes, you have to get the candidate to reveal how they would act in a tough selling situation. 

How do you do this? Simple: act like the toughest prospect they'll ever encounter. Yes, you've got to be tough!  Remember the toughest experience you ever had in front of a prospect and channel it. 

Begin the interview without the normal pleasantries.  Remember, you're not there to make a candidate comfortable.  You're there to test his or her abilities.  Start with "Are you my two o'clock?  Go in the conference room.  I'll be there in ten minutes."  Make them wait.  Don't smile.  Don't be nice.  After ten minutes, walk in and say, "We've only got twenty minutes for this interview and we have an hour of information to cover.  Ready?"

This is the first test.  What you're looking for is someone who'll push back in order to gain control.  At the very least, you want someone who'll try to break the ice and bond with you.  If they roll over and act like a compliant puppy dog (answering "yes" and "sure"), you know they'll wimp out in front of a touch prospect. 

Ask "prove it to me" questions.  "We're looking for a strong closer who can handle herself well in front of presidents and CEOs.  If that's you, prove it to me."

Keep the pressure on.  Look for signs of discomfort or emotional involvement such as rapid eye movement, giggling, staring at the ceiling or out of the window, fidgeting, and changes in voice pitch or volume.

Want to know if they'll really make cold calls? Here's a strong move:  "If we get beyond this interview to the next step (remember to keep the pressure on), you'll be required to find $250,000 in new business.  Once you've identified whom to call, how will you get appointments?"  

The answer you want to hear from the candidate's lips is a plan for some form of cold calling plus referrals.  A newly hired salesperson will need to cold call.  If she says that cold calling is the only way they know how to start in a new position, you know they'll be picking up the phone.  But if they cave in and start talking about research, letter campaigns and marketing, then you know you don't have a hunter in front of you. 
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