Posts Tagged ‘Hiring Salespeople’

5 Ideas for Hiring Outstanding Salespeople

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

employeescreeningblog.comIn many industries, business is starting to pick up; employers are at least thinking about hiring again. One of the most important positions you’ll hire for is salespeople. What’s the best way to approach this challenge?

Salespeople need to do two things: acquire new business and take care of existing customers. It takes a certain type of employee to make a great salesperson—and there are few businesses that can survive a bad sales hire. Think about how long your company can wait for a new salesperson to get up to speed, and hire the best you can.

Five ideas to consider when you’re ready to hire sales staff:

  1. Expert sales people can sell anything. Often, employers focus on finding someone who already works in their industry. They believe that if Tom has been installing flooring for several years, he should be able to sell it, too. Our first tip is to flip this thinking upside down. Try looking at people who have the skills, drive and temperament it takes to be a successful salesperson—even if they know nothing about your business category. It’s easier to teach a good salesperson about the difference between berber carpet and linoleum than to teach a good carpet installer how to close a sale.
  2. Consider hiring from your competition. If you’re paying attention, you know what’s going on with your competitors. Perhaps they have a very strong sales staff you’d like to emulate. One way to do it is to hire those people. Hiring another company’s staff does not come without challenges, so be sure to do your homework. Confidentiality is the goal—but it’s not guaranteed. If you’re okay with your competitor knowing you’re trying to hire her star salesperson, go ahead. And be prepared to invest enough to lure her in and keep her happy and productive.
  3. Speaking of investing in salespeople, hiring the best means offering an attractive compensation package. Salespeople are driven by a variety of factors, like the thrill of the game, winning the business and of course, making money. Growth is achieved through sales—and if you structure your compensation package correctly, you can make both your new salesperson and your bottom line happy. Consider a base salary plus a commission of some type. Commission only makes some salespeople desperate. Some companies put a cap on commissions—that’s not always a good idea. Why cap sales? Do look for quality of sales when figuring out commissions. Lower percentages for lower-profit items makes more sense than a flat fee no matter how much the sale actually nets the company.
  4. Always be recruiting. This means you should have an idea of who your next salesperson should be long before you hire anyone. Through social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can get to know more people quicker than ever before. You could meet an unknown sales star at a networking event, a parking garage, or your neighborhood pizza restaurant. A natural people-person is a natural salesperson too. Keep an ongoing list of who you’d like to talk to when hiring for your next sales position—whenever that may be.
  5. Do your due diligence on reference and background  checks. Salespeople can charm even the most wary employer into believing everything they say about their history and sales performance. Ask for former client and employer references, and don’t skip the credit check.