This is the third in a series of Hiring Tips on the subject of hiring salespeople.
Preparation being a major element in sales, the first tip discussed how prepared the prospect was for the hiring interview.
In the second tip, we addressed the subject of motivation and purpose.
In this tip, we’ll look at what has become a somewhat controversial subject in the sales world: prospecting.
There are some sales leaders who believe the days of cold-calling or direct marketing are over. They will tell you all prospecting should be accomplished on the Internet and, if properly done, you’ll have an abundance of people buying your products and services.
On the other side of that coin are sales professionals who believe you should never throw the baby out with the bath water. By all means, build a strong presence on the web and use the various tools of email marketing, social media, videos, etc. to create reaches to your business. But continue your reach out to brand new people directly through the mail and the phone.
I realize every business is different and some of you would never use cold calling.
The point in this hiring tip, however, is what does your prospect think about all of this?
Therefore, ask him point blank:
“Frank, what are your views on prospecting? If you were selling my widgets, and you didn’t have any prospects in front of you, what prospecting tools would you use?”
Listen carefully and consider taking some notes.
Some of the younger salespeople out there are not even familiar with the CONCEPT of prospecting. They believe ALL leads should be created elsewhere (through on and offline marketing) and their job is to convert those leads into sales for you.
Frankly, that’s a shame. The competition on the Internet heats up every day while your competitors are trying to capture the attention of your would-be customers. In fact, they are also going after your CURRENT customers! So the Internet may be working wonders for you now, but it might not be months down the road.
In the “old” days, the best salespeople never depended on the marketing department. They knew they were 100% responsible for their sales quotas being met and if they had to roll up their sleeves and do some cold-calling, so be it. They also knew a great source of new business was prospecting happy clients and were willing to do so.
So, let’s find out what your sales candidate thinks about this. If he’s very thin on the subject of prospecting, it’s likely he’ll be depending a great deal, if not entirely, on your efforts to provide him with prospects.
If, however, he’s experienced in this key aspect of selling and AND is willing to spend quality time prospecting, then I do believe this chap has a leg up on his competition. This person may even come up with some creative ways to find you new business.
This person may just believe he’s completely responsible for meeting his sales quotas. And from your hiring perspective, that is one seriously positive quality.
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