finding the best sales talent

In the last part of Board of Experts member and Metal Mafia owner, Vanessa Nornberg’s, series on finding the best sales talent for your company, she takes us to the road test – a short, hands-on opportunity for your potential new sales hire to show what they’ve got. Even after sailing with flying colors through all of Vanessa’s previous steps in her thorough sales hiring process, she finds that some candidates still don’t have the right skill set for sales work.

“While she may have gotten high scores on curiosity, commitment, and tenacity, the hallmarks of a good salesperson, there is still the possibility that she may become a deer in headlights when she actually is presented with a customer she must sell to.”

That’s where the road test comes in. The idea is to see the recruit in action. Give them product details, a short call list, a desk to work at, a quick strategy, and leave them to it. Then observe.

Best Sales Talent: According to Vanessa, the best salesperson will take a moment to thoroughly familiarize herself with the product she’s selling, and start calling right away. She’ll be a great note taker, high energy, and very responsive. The best sales talents know how to quickly adjust their approach if they’re not getting a good response. They might have questions for their trainer, but show great independence of thought and capability.

Average Sales Talent: An average sales hire will also begin calling quickly after glancing at the product details. This kind of sales recruit won’t be as adaptive, instead going to their trainer for advisement if their call strategy isn’t getting the desired response. They may even ask how long they have to continue calling. “This will end his interview, because it lets me know he is not really enjoying what he is doing and is not the right fit.”

Bad Sales Talent: A poor recruit for sales will stare at the product listing for a long time without diving into calls – clearly showing a hesitation for the task. Once they finally get started, you’ll often find that they stop quickly, and have very little notes about their leads. They’ll show poor adaptability and a lack of energy for the work. Best to pass on this recruit.

Being a good salesperson is about feeling comfortable with and good about your products, it is about strategizing as you converse so you can communicate in a way that meets your customer’s needs, and it is, most importantly, about continually reflecting on how you can best learn from, explain to,  and provide value to your customer.”

You can read Vanessa’s article in its original form at Inc. Magazine’s website.