Hire the Best Salesperson With These 10 Great Interview Questions
The World of Outbound Sales
Legend has it that sales people are born with a second brain. It channels their selling capabilities through a mix of interpretive dance and a mind crushing motivation to achieve world domination, one sales lead at a time…ok, that might not be ‘confirmed’. However, it is known that sales people tend to exude 20% more confidence than the rest of us, and can be delightfully entertaining during the interview process. They will take pride in telling you about the number of times they have met and exceeded their targets.
Alas, they can also be susceptible to the odd case of ‘exaggeritis’. Maybe the last time they hit their sales targets was actually 12 months ago, and maybe they didn’t really climb Mount Everest using only one hand. This presents a tricky situation, doesn’t it? So how do you tell the real thing from an expensive counterfeit? No need for the Sherlock Holmes kit, we have an idea!
Good sales people don’t usually hesitate in their answers, so here are 10 key questions we would ask during the interview to distinguish the good from the not so good!
- How many sales people are in your team and your company?
- How did you rank against your peers last year?
- Who sets your targets and what are they?
- How often are they set?
- How many calls do you make every day?
- How do you plan your day?
- How do you end a call with a customer?
- What information do you send to the customer after the call?
- What happens when a customer says no, they don’t want the service or product?
- How do you find your sales leads?
Typically, good sales people excel in the following Lominger competencies:
They will book all calls into their schedule, and aim to do a minimum of 50-60 outbound calls a day; this assumes no outbound dialler. They will have pre-read the customer website and other information before making the call, and complete any follow up emails either early in the morning or the evening before to keep their day free to contact customers.
They will be focused on solving the customer’s problem, rather than bragging about the product features. They will also be good listeners and observe the 80/20 rule of listening verses talking.
They will know their targets inside out and can forecast within 20% accuracy if they are going to hit those targets. They also try to end every call with an agreed time for a follow up and they know what actions need to be completed. A poor salesperson will just partake in a rambling catch up call that may not go anywhere, whereas the good salesperson will accurately forecast a close date.
They will have no objection to discussing price. They will have reviewed the customer’s business in advance, reviewed the competition, and can pre-empt the big objections. If the customer decides not to buy the product, a good salesperson will ask why. But if they merely accept the customer’s refusal without further enquiry, perhaps you need to relocate them to customer service!
The worst offence occurs when a salesperson makes multiple calls but then disregards the lead. Persistence in sales is king, resistance is futile! The salesperson should never give up. Instead, they should dig deeper for more contact information or pass on the lead to someone else who can try to close if they are failing to win it themselves. By listening in on this call, they can then understand where they went wrong and what they could have done better.
Another good tip for hiring sales people is to organise a role play and have the candidate sell a product to one of your existing sales leaders/trainers based on an agreed case study. This exercise is an ideal way to assess whether your prospective hire will shine brightly…or fade into the abyss of insignificance.
Now that you have the tips on how to acquire your knight in shining sales armour, what’s next? You need good sales leads, right? Well believe it or not, this is the easy part. If you are selling to eCommerce sites, we can help you to welcome your new salesperson with a full pipeline of hot prospects, instead of trawling through the internet or qualifying lists of potentially uninspiring results.
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