Recruiting the right people is always a challenge for companies, regardless of their size. But in sales, it can make or break your business.
Hiring a poor salesperson cannot just waste the initial investment of onboarding a member of staff, but can have a significant impact on your lead generation. On the other hand, anyone who has worked with an effective salesperson knows just how valuable they can be, not to mention the wider impact they can have on a team.
So what questions should you be asking at the interview stage to make sure you're recruiting the right talent for your sales department?
1. Who are our key customers?
This allows you to gain insight on how well they understand your business, as well as the industry as a whole. Even if their answer isn't perfectly accurate, it should give you a good indication of their understanding of your brand and their sales experience.
2. What's your favorite question to ask?
Good salespeople know the power of asking the right questions and using them to gain a better understanding of prospects. Getting candidates to explain why they ask a particular question will allow you to see their sales techniques and whether they listen to consumers.
3. Teach me something
Whether it's how to change a car tire or how to speak your name in German, getting candidates to teach you something on the spot allows you to see their selling style. It also shows you how they cope under pressure.
4. How do you deal with critics?
Every salesperson on your team needs to know how to answer problems that potential consumers may have about your company. Knowing that they are prepared to discuss this with a prospect, rather than just shutting down, is key.
5. What would you do during your first month in this role?
Their answer doesn't necessarily need to be outstanding, but knowing that they have a prepared action plan for success is important. Watch out for people that highlight the importance of getting to know their colleagues, as team players are usually much more effective in sales.
6. Describe your ideal manager
This gives you a good idea of how they like to work and how independent they like to be. Sales is incredibly competitive and relies on strong individuals being able to work autonomously. However, it's also important that they see a manager as someone who they can gain support from when they need to overcome a challenge.
7. Remember to diversify your recruitment panel
The most effective businesses have diverse workforces and the best way to achieve this is to remove any bias from your recruitment process. This can be by having a diverse panel to look at CVs, removing details like age, gender and name before deciding who to call to interview, or simply changing up the people who do the interviewing.
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