The secret to hiring a sales superstar is to radically
change your hiring process, which concludes with a powerful 20-minute
ideal candidate. Describe your
selling environment that identifies the perfect salesperson. For example:
“Our ideal candidate has
successfully cold called CEOs, presidents and owners of medium size companies
and can close sales for conceptual services prospects. Our ideal candidate is successful at finding
budgets when there are none, and can close $50,000 worth of long-term contracts in two calls or
less. The candidate must have had prior
earnings of at least $80,000 per year.” Be very specific --not
about what you sell, that’s secondary, but about the environment that you sell
Search. Write compelling advertising copy that
describes the ideal candidate so when its read, he or she says, “that’s me,”
and understands how your organization is different from any other. Look outside of your industry so you don’t
get stuck with industry re-treads with below average selling skills. If someone
is leaving an organization, there is usually a reason. Plus, someone from the
outside, once hired, can objectively ask the question, “why can’t we do
that,” while someone inside the industry might have a stagnating a
Qualify: In a five-minute telephone screen, read your
pre-determined key criteria and ask the candidate to prove he or she can meet
Test: Use a proven test to separate those that will
sell from those that can sell.
the interview. DO NOT tell describe your company and why it’s a desirable
place to work. Make your candidate sell to you why you make the hire.
To separate the “real candidate” from the “interview face,”
you must run the interview dramatically different from most employment
interviews. In 20 minutes, you must
unveil how the candidate would act in a tough selling situation. How?
Act like the toughest prospect the person will ever
Yes, you need to be tough –
like the toughest experience you’ve ever had in front of a prospect.
Begin the interview without the normal pleasantries. You are not there to make the candidate
comfortable, you are there to test abilities.
Start with, “Are you my two
o’clock? Go in the conference room, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Make your candidate wait. Don’t smile.
Don’t be nice. After 10 minutes,
walk in and say, “We’ve only got 20 minutes for this
interview to cover an hour of information.
This is the first test.
You want someone who’ll push back to get control. At the very least, you want someone who’ll
try to break the ice and bond with you.
If the candidate rolls over and acts like a compliant puppy dog, (by
answering, “yes” or “sure”) you know he or she will wimp out in front of tough
Ask “prove-it-to-me” kinds of questions. “We’re
looking for strong closers who can handle themselves well in front of
presidents and CEOs. Prove to me that’s
Keep the pressure on.
Look for signs of discomfort or emotional involvement, such as rapid eye
movement, giggling, staring at the ceiling or out the window, movement in the
chair and changes in voice pitch or volume.
Here’s a strong move to determine if your candidate really will
make cold calls. “If we get beyond this interview to the next step, (remember to keep
the pressure on!), you’ll be required to find $250,000 in new business. Once you’ve identified whom to call, how
would you get appointments?”
The answer you are looking for is some form of cold calling
AND referrals. In a new position such as this, cold calling will be a
necessity. If your candidate says it’s
the only way to start in a new position, you know the cold calling will
actually happen. If your candidate caves
in and starts talking about research, letter campaigns and marketing…you know
you don’t have a hunter in front of you.
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