Hiring the Top Salespeople – Tips for Success

May 18, 2017

Sales Training Workshops

In 2007, 52 percent of job turnover was employee driven (quitting) and 48 percent was employer driven (layoffs, firings) per the Job Openings and Labor Turnover report issued by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Today, one decade later, this has shifted to only 31 percent being employer driven.

What does this mean? Employers are less in control of employee retention.

For sales jobs, where turnover tends to be even more pronounced, this is problematic. If only we could wave a magic wand and fill our sales team with top salespeople who stuck around for years – what a dream that would be!

Instead, many sales managers rely on their gut when picking candidates, and over-hire in the hopes that at least one or two of their hires will stick around past their sales training workshops and have some success.

This approach is for the birds, really. I will tell you straight off the bat that the greatest weapon we have in hiring top salespeople today is the sales aptitude assessment known as the APQ (Advanced Personality Questionnaire).

It’s part of what we call the three-legged stool of recruiting

Sales Training Workshops

The first leg of the stool is past performance. Before you test or interview, my first tip would be to find good prospects by indirectly assessing past performance. You can do this by reading business journals, browsing social media, using LinkedIn, etc. Who is making deals happen? Who demonstrates the hallmarks of success online (new cars, promotions, success stories from customers)? Then, when the interview happens, you can confirm these things through the questioning process – and ask for proof of high performance in the form of past tax returns or official sales reports.

The second leg of the stool is the APQ sales aptitude assessment. The importance of testing cannot be overstated, as it allows you to get the right people in the right seats on the bus, based on their natural talents/aptitude. Past performance can be distorted, and the candidate might interview extraordinarily well – but they cannot easily manipulate the findings on the APQ sales aptitude assessment. So, my second tip is to test every promising candidate before you invest time in the personal interview.

The third leg of the stool is the in-person interview. This is your chance to confirm what appeared in your past performance review, plus the APQ aptitude sales assessment. Some of the things to look for:

  • Good appearance and first impression. This is exactly how your customers will perceive her as well, so make sure she makes a positive impression on you.

  • Make sure she has researched your company and the position. Ask her what image she has of your company, for example.

  • Inquire as to how she generates leads, and how she intends to do so in her new position. (Referrals should be one of the things she mentions).

  • She should express enthusiasm for the position, and talk about how she will contribute to your success, rather than make the interview all about her.

  • How does she respond when you mention areas of concern from the APQ sales aptitude assessment? Is she willing to improve, or does she become defensive?

  • Finally, she should attempt to confirm a next step. If she doesn’t, she will not do so with prospects either – meaning she might not be aggressive enough.

The in-person interview is an excellent way to see how a prospect sells – because they are literally selling themselves to you in asking for a job.

One final note: if you are tired of interviewing countless candidates and not having much luck, consider outsourcing your hiring to us at Asher Strategies. We will screen candidates for you and recommend only the most qualified ones for your approval. Contact a hiring specialist for more information.