I have hired probably a couple hundred representatives over my sales career. There is an art to hiring sales people. All of the good ones know that concentrating on the sales process, knowing where you are in the sales process are critical to enjoying success.
All of the successful professional sales representatives also know that some form of cold call will have to be done in order to fill their individual pipeline.
So why is it that so many professional sales representatives fail, or move on to other professions? That one is tough to put my finger on it exactly but I would have to say that cold calling is one of the areas that all representatives fear and loath to do.
There is a difference between loathing to do cold calls and not doing them. When I interview prospective sales candidates I always ask them these two questions.
- Since you are looking for a new job this is your opportunity to get off the phone and stop cold calling, why are you interviewing for the exact type of job you just left?
- Do you like spending 8 hours a day on the phone?
The first question I use to find out why they are leaving their previous position. Sales positions are easy to find but hard to keep. Sales representatives are also looking for a specific amount of money, so when they are not making that amount they tend to bolt. Definitely drill down on this answer.
The second question is really the one that lets me know if the candidate is going to lie to me in the future. Nobody likes being on cold calls. If you hear something like “You have to smile and dial,” or “You have to stay on the phone to make money,” then my advice is to explore the candidate further. The sales candidate is using both those statements because they think… “I know exactly what the new boss wants to hear.”
I have two final questions that I always ask prospective sales candidates. They are:
- How much money do you want to make?
- How much money do you need to make?
The answer to #1 needs to be at the high-end of your own pay scale. If it is not (way over or way under) then run and run fast. The #2 answer will immediately tell you exactly how much money they will make. Sales reps get comfortable with a set amount of money so if your “A” players are making $100,000 and your candidate needs to make $50,000 my advice is to pass and keep looking.
David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting