Whether you’re growing your team, replacing an ineffective representative or hiring to fill a vacancy, there are many factors to consider while interviewing new sales candidates. You’re looking to find an effective and dedicated individual who is committed to not only their own success, but your organization’s as well. Here are four questions to consider as you evaluate new candidates to help you find the perfect person to add to your team.
How Coachable Are They?
A 2014 Insight Squared article recommends that you run through a role play situation with a prospective candidate, not only to see their pitch, but also to see how coachable they are. Start with a standard sales role play, asking the interviewee to sell you a desk or phone in the interview room. Listen through their pitch, and take notes on areas that might be good to refine. After they’ve completed, ask them what they thought of their own pitch. Gauging how well a person identifies his or her own faults is a good sign of how well they may take criticism and input. After they’ve self-reviewed, provide your notes to them, and see how they react. As the article notes, those who appear to get flustered or defensive are often unlikely to receive your input and act on your coaching suggestions.
Another sign of a potentially successful candidate is finding out what kind of preparation goes into their calls. Oftentimes, salespeople opt for calling blind, trying to churn out as many calls as possible in hopes of landing successful pitches. This methodology may work for some, but fails to recognize the unique situations and challenges of each individual customer. Ask your candidate how he or she prepares for a call, and see if researching the client is part of their process. You should also ask what kind of research they do, if they are looking for specific client needs or recent news articles to help them land the potential sale, or if they’re just trying to get a basic read of the business. Those who dig deep are more likely to be armed with information to overcome objections and highlight the value of the products they pitch.
Can They Take Control of the Conversation?
Many sales today fail to close through inaction rather than rejection. This is the often long process of waiting for potential clients to come to a decision and asking for discounts, more time to consider your pitch or simply never making a decision. As Performance-Based Results notes in a recent article, an effective sales person cuts through this and takes charge of the situation, moving past objections deftly to highlight the value of the product or service, acknowledging the prospective customer’s request for a discount or more time but using the call to drive home their points. Even if the call doesn’t end with the sale, an effective rep will identify exactly the course forward before ending the conversation, and have a clear path to follow up, refocus their pitch and close the deal. Try throwing an interviewee a few objections or deference points as part of a role play and see how they adapt and recover to see what their approach is. Those who continue to focus on creatively working past objections are most likely to succeed with your organization and improve your bottom line, as well.
What Do They Think You Could Do Better?
This question is a great consideration for both evaluating your candidate’s research skills and career goals. First, a motivated and truly passionate applicant will have done their research on your organization before setting foot in your offices, which will often include any news coverage, press releases and/or reviews of your organization on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. This will often give a good overview of your organization, and your own discussion of your company’s sales process and procedures should give them an opportunity to form a few ideas about your operation. In addition, asking for their ideas shows their initiative – both as an employee and their long-term goals – which can help you identify whether this candidate is looking for a job or a career. Candidates who are well informed about your company, ask excellent questions and offer tangible, actionable suggestions are often team players, looking to work together with co-workers and management to achieve, succeed and grow both your company and their career. This is just one of the many questions recommended by Hubspot in a recent blog post, but one that offers a great deal of insight into your prospective hire.
Finding the perfect candidate is an imprecise science, but by asking the right questions you can find great new members for your team. CSS can help! We have an extensive database of screened and prequalified candidates with experience and references to rely on who might be just the right fit for your organization. Contact us today and see how we can help grow, build and expand your team – and your bottom line!