4 Steps to Hiring Killer Sales Staff

4 Steps to Hiring Killer Sales Staff

SHARE

There are few things more important to an SME than growing sales, particularly when you’re ready to begin scaling. Yet when it comes to hiring sales people, there are a number of signs that are incredibly important to pay attention to but are often missed. These signs are crucial as hiring the wrong person can have a devastating effect on both your brand and your bottom line.

These four points will help you better understand how to interview and interpret responses from those who are seeking a job with you:

Related: 4 Hiring Techniques Needed to Build a Stellar Team

1. Make them comfortable.

When you’re interviewing someone, it’s their job to sell themselves to you – regardless of whether or not they’re applying for a sales position. It’s your job to understand who they really are as quickly as possible and cut through the sales pitch. One of the best ways to do that is to make them as comfortable as possible by creating a very casual environment and acting like the interview is no big deal. You’re just there to make a new friend.

2. Don’t go through their resumé in front of them.

Actually, when they hand it to you, respond with, “I’m not interested in that stuff,” and nonchalantly turn it over or place it in a folder. Now sit back in your chair and casually chat for at least ten minutes about their non-working background. Ask simple follow-up questions to their responses and you will be amazed what people will openly divulge when they get comfortable.

3. Understand their story.

You might be interested in a candidate based on their previous experience or some incredible letter of recommendation from Bill Gates, but that doesn’t mean they are a fit for your team. Where did they grow up? How many siblings do they have? What’s their favourite dessert?

 

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
Entrepreneur’s daily tips & insights delivered direct to your inbox.

Keep the questions coming, and if they have a sales personality, they should be able to talk at length about nearly anything and keep you engaged. If getting them to freely answer questions is like pulling teeth, the interview is over. Don’t waste your time or theirs.

You can learn an awful lot about motivation and work ethic from their backgrounds, particularly with respect to their family situation and how they were raised.

4. Identify the need.

Do they need to work and be successful at sales to live, or to keep mom and dad off their back until their trust fund matures? You don’t want to hire a sales person who doesn’t have to work, as their ‘need’ is non-existent. You do want to hire sales people who have the drive and passion for success, particularly when their failure means that they can’t pay rent.

This is also the point at which you discuss their previous employment, but remain casual – you’re just two friends having coffee.

Now make them uncomfortable. Ask them direct and pointed questions about the wealth of information you just gathered from their rambling. Do not be abusive, but don’t hesitate to be abrupt and even interrupt them to throw them off track.

There are two reasons for this: The first is to put them on the spot and get honest answers about their past and abilities, the second is to see how they operate when they’re under pressure and flustered.

The sales environment is full of discomfort, interruptions, pointed questions and roadblocks, and it’s your job to gather information so you can be as prepared as possible to pull the trigger on the candidate that has the best combination of expertise, history and personality for your team.

Related: 10 Steps for Hiring Your Next Rock Star

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Adam Callinan
Adam Callinan is a founding partner of Beachwood Ventures, a Los Angeles-based early-stage VC firm that excels where technology and entertainment intersect. As an entrepreneur, Callinan spent nearly a decade building small businesses in and around technology, medical devices and consumer products, which most recently includes an exit in 2013. Callinan lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Katie and remains active as a founder of BottleKeeper.