The 3 C’s: What to Look for When Hiring Your Next Sales Rep
Be Different. Deliver Excellence.
Jul 04, 2017
Hire a Superhero Sales Candidate
I was recently asked “what do you look for when hiring a sales person?” I get this question frequently. The three main components I look for in a superhero sales candidate are:
Culture is a must for anycandidate. But remember sales people are employees too, and they must fit the culture of the organization. Sometimes business owners can get caught up with a flashy sales person selling themselves during an interview. They often rationalize the need to drive top line is more important than organizational integrity. Don’t get sucked into this trap! Even though many successful sales reps are aggressive, they have souls and feelings! Many sales reps are a good candidate if they are able to balance drive and being a good corporate citizen.
Competitive drive is a must for a sales rep! One has it, or doesn’t. Hire winners. Winners win no matter what. Sometimes people think good culture fit means you hire sales people that get along with everyone. Wrong! Your culture needs to embrace diversity of personal attributes. Winners drive hard. They may ruffle a few feathers, but as long as they do it the right way by keeping both the customer’s needs and the company’s interest held in proper tension, you have a great sales rep. Don’t hire a sales candidate who does not have a track record of winning at what they do. Obstacles arise from both inside and outside the organization; so they need to be mentally tough enough to get through the countless “no’s” you get from internal and external customers. Winners don’t crumble; they keep pressing on. Keep in mind not all winners look the same. For many, a loud, boisterous, chest-bumping type comes to mind. But I’ve learned many of the cool, calm collected types on the outside have a super-charged, never-quit engine on the inside. You need to ask the right interview questions to draw out examples to determine if candidates have the competitive moxie needed to be successful in your sales organization.
Curiosity is a differentiator in today's selling environment. The days of pushing your products or services onto a customer are long gone. The best sales people ask the best questions. They are always trying to learn and uncover new things about their customer. The more you know about your customer, the better chance you have at solving their problems with your products and services. When you solve problems for your customer, you get paid higher margins, and you mean more to them. The curiosity must continue after the initial sale as well. Customers change, and so do their needs. A deep, nagging curiosity will always keep you hungry to find new ways to serve your customer. In my opinion, curiosity is the #1 factor in customer retention!
The interesting thing about the three traits above is that I believe only one can be taught. Culture and competitive drive are typically core to a person, but curiosity can be sparked. Having an established and consistent hiring process will help you find cultural alignment and competitive drive in the superhero sales candidates you interview.
Greg VanDeWalker, Senior Vice President of IT Channel and Services, is responsible for the strategic vision and performance of Collabrance and the GreatAmerica IT and Unified Communication Financing business units. Greg has consistently been recognized for his leadership in the IT channel. Most recently, he was named a ENX Difference Maker 2017. He was also honored by CRN in 2016-2018 as Channel Chief, and was named on the "100 People You Don't Know But Should" list in 2015. Greg has also served as Chair of the inaugural Managed Print Services Community of CompTIA, and has helped various advisory boards in the IT, Telephony and Office Equipment channels.