February 6, 2014

iStock_000011752270SmallAs in any field of endeavor, we can often raise our game as hiring managers by practicing the rules we have learned in other areas of life. Here are three key life lessons as applied to the challenging, but rewarding, discipline of hiring high-potential salespeople.

1. Actions speak louder than words. Many sales candidates are skilled at telling the interviewer exactly what he/she wants to hear. Of course, the reality underneath the surface may be very different. Our job is to identify candidates who are truly driven to succeed. To do so, we need to dig into the candidate’s responses to get many real examples of consistent patterns of behavior over time.

2. Preparation is key. Hiring managers frequently succumb to the temptation to “wing” the interview, filling the time with friendly banter, asking whatever questions come to mind. This leaves the precious interview time open for the candidate to fill it with lofty promises and puffery. We need to come to the interview prepared, with specific, challenging questions, ready to get the information we need to make an informed hiring decision.

3. Patience is a virtue. It can be very tempting to fill an open territory quickly with a warm body. However, hiring a salesperson without proper scrutiny will typically make our problems worse, frustrating more customers and closing fewer deals. We need to take the time necessary to find candidates with the motivation and experience necessary to succeed in the role.

Although following these rules takes discipline, our diligence will be rewarded with higher production and far fewer headaches. Of course, many other life lessons can apply to hiring salespeople as well. Please let us know if there are any others you follow.

Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. For more information, click here.