6 Common Mistakes in the Sales Hiring Process

 

Is lack of sales results, more sales training costs, months ofunearned salary and damage to your company's image orreputation your company's method of NOT finding goodsalespeople? For most companies it is!

The "trial and error" method of hiring salespeople is verycostly to a business. Without a viable way to hire qualitysales people everyone in the same organization is negativelyaffected. Without revenues there often are not adequate humanand financial resources to best service customers or grow thebusiness.

"Sales" Pays the Bills

If you're a seasoned business owner or a manager of a business, you learn that sales fixes most business problems ? in otherwords, when sales revenues are strong, you can more afford tomake business mistakes or throw more money at any number ofbusiness problems. However, when sales are down you cannotafford any level of unnecessary incremental cost.

Zig Ziglar, the famous sales trainer, once said, "Sales peopleare really the only people in business who pay the bills!" Forvital, revenue generating positions like sales, businessescannot afford a trial and error method of finding qualitysales personnel.

Show Me the Way!

Hiring quality employees has always been a major challenge forany business owner or manager. Hiring mistakes are common nomatter the business function and most are directly attributedto six fundamental hiring mistakes:

1) Assuming the hiring manager knows how to qualify people

Being able to effectively interview and qualify people, likeany other skill is not an innate talent. Some people arebetter than others at assessing hire candidate's potential. Asa hiring manager you must seek others perspectives ofcandidates and establish an interview team for each openposition, than collectively discuss each candidate for optimumresults.

2) Not defining EXACTLY what you are looking for in a new hire

The adage: "If you don't know what you want you'll never getit" applies in hiring salespeople. When you establish aninterview team, document a comprehensive job description withduties and responsibilities clearly defined for each interviewteam member. Be sure to list desirable talents, skills andareas of knowledge. If you want multiple perspectives oncandidate traits or experiences, have each person focus on alimited number of desired skill sets.

3) Assuming specific business functions know how to hire "like"

talent

Do sales people best know how to hire other sales people? Notnecessarily! Just because someone is capable in a specific jobfunction does not mean they know how to hire people with thesame level of talent.

4) Over emphasizing a hire candidate's personality or "looks"

This one is obvious, but, one of the most common hiringmistakes.

5) Not effectively checking previous employment references

If you consistently miss critical insights into a salesperson'scapabilities, motivations or character prior to hire, it isgenerally because you chose not to or did not effectivelyinvestigate a candidate's previous employment history. Giventhe potential cost of a poor hiring mistake, it makesfinancial sense to spend a nominal amount of money and have aprofessional check out a candidate's references.

6) Hiring in your own likeness

Everyone likes to hire people who either have their same;background, education, philosophies, interests, motivations orfriends, but, more often than not, this is a major mistake. Sales team diversity is critical to long term sales success.

If your organization can establish an effective program toevaluate potential new sales personnel on a probationary basisyou can also significantly reduce your hire risks. Establish alegal document whereby the candidate and your company mutuallyagree to a 4 to 6 month "mutual evaluation period". Defineupfront all position performance metrics for the candidate anda clear financial remuneration to be paid if they do not meetthe performance thresholds. Be sure this agreement is writtenby a qualified attorney. If the "honeymoon" is wonderful, there is a good chance the marriage is going to be a success!

Organizations have a shared responsibility to hire the bestselling talent possible. Whether you seek experienced salespeople or "rookies" with just energy and attitude, adisciplined approach to PRE-qualifying tomorrow's salessuperstar is paramount. If you cannot find quality salespeople, don't compromise!

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