A subtle, but effective technique for getting past a sales candidate’s defenses during the interview is to avoid using “why” questions. During an interview, the word “why” can have a slightly accusing tone, especially if the candidate is concerned about revealing his shortcomings.
Psychologists will tell you that past performance is the best predicator of future behavior. Unfortunately, it is human nature for a job applicant to embellish past performance examples include taking credit for deals he/she played a part in but did not source, or referring to an outlier production year as the average or the norm.
Salespeople make or break your business. It’s that simple. So the stakes are literally (business) life and death when it comes to hire a salesperson. Yet it is shocking how many bad salespeople there are and how casual many companies are about the process of selecting them. One of the problems is that hiring managers and/or business owners often do not appreciate just how much damage just one, bad salesperson can do, or how remarkably valuable one good salesperson is. Like the proverbial frog in water that is slowly turned up to the boiling point, the damage takes time, but once it reaches the boiling point, it can be catastrophic.
Let’s look at the cost of a bad salesperson.
A sales candidate who comes to us with substantial industry experience and/or a great book of business can seem like a dream come true. Considering the potential for leveraging the candidate’s experience and contacts, it may even be tempting to shortcut the testing and interviewing process. Make no mistake, experience is critical, especially when we need the salesperson to start producing quickly. However, a careful vetting process is still essential. In particular, we need to answer three key questions: