How to Know You've Hired the Right Salesperson
Are you hiring the best person for your sales job? Probably not, write Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein and Patrick Sweeney in How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer. According to the authors - who are the principals of Caliper, a human resources assessment and consulting firm - half of all salespeople are in the wrong job. In other words, companies waste large sums of money on hiring and training people who will only give their employers mediocre selling performances or quit.
How can companies avoid making mistakes in hiring? The first step, according to the authors, is to recognize that age, education and experience are invalid criteria for creating successful salespeople.
Instead, companies should focus on five central personality qualities - beyond a fundamental motivation to succeed - that they say the most successful salespeople possess:
- Empathy - the ability to sense the reactions of other people and pick up subtle clues and cues they provide to accurately assess what they think and feel.
- Ego-Drive - the desire and need to make a sale in a very personal way.
- Service Motivation - the desire to receive the approval that comes from making the sale. The authors say the best salespeople possess both ego-drive and service motivation.
- Conscientiousness - a quality possessed by either externally driven or internally driven people. The authors say internally driven salespeople are easier to manage because "they are more demanding of themselves than you could ever be."
- Ego-Strength - the ability to overcome rejection because of a strong sense of self-worth.
The Requirements of the Job
The next step in the authors' strategy for hiring top performers is "understanding the requirements of the job and the personal qualities you are seeking in an ideal applicant." They say once the nature of the specific sales job is understood, then the personality qualities required by that job can be determined.
The book also covers the dynamics of building a winning sales team, creating the best sales manager of that team, and how to match sales dynamics to specific industries.
Although this is not an especially user-friendly book - its prose is a bit dry and its organization is sometimes confusing - the information it contains provides a useful and in-depth hiring resource for any company.