Craig Fisher writes:
The recruitment process is a difficult one, but it’s even more difficult when recruiting sales staff. Sales people should be able to talk a good game but it’s results that count and therefore results that you want to see.
You need to ask the candidate to pick a scenario in the past where they have generated the lead from scratch and closed it. To check they’re the all rounder you’re looking for this is imperative. You need to know they can obtain leads and handle the entire process.
Find out how they generate their own leads and ask them to talk you through the series of events that happen when making a sale. This will teach you if the person is thorough and works to a structure.
If they do generate their own leads make sure to ask them how they’ve done it. There are many ways, but if the candidate says cold calling this is a definite positive. Cold calling is a thankless task but still very effective in lead generation. You need to know the candidate is as comfortable on the phone as they are face to face.
It’s also preferable if they have some experience belonging to networking/referral organisations. If you can network, you can build referrals.
If you find a salesperson that has been on a small basic and a high commission that will show they have great faith in themselves and their abilities.
If you watch The Apprentice you may recall a scene where Karen Brady, Birmingham City Managing Director, asked a candidate in an interview to sell her a Bic biro. This is a standard test for any sales person. You need to take an object and see if they can understand its good points immediately and sell it off the cuff.
If they can do this by talking sense and being persuasive, you have your person.
Ultimately, if the person can talk a good game to you, they should be able to talk a good game to anyone. It is just a matter of keeping them motivated and focused.
Craig Fisher is
The Sales Expert
and managing director of The Consultancy Store
Got a question for one of our experts to answer? Send it to